There are some organic gardeners who have very strong opinions about plastic in the garden. (Against it.) I haven’t really had much of an opinion on the issue until recently. I’ve decided I’m for it — in moderation.
We haven’t had a homegrown tomato in years now. Last year we got the blight and we’ve been told that plastic is the way to avoid getting it again. One essentially makes a little hoophouse over the tomatoes with clear visqueen and then you water by hand throughout the season. This keeps the foliage dry, which is key to avoiding a host of problems.
So here’s how my system worked out:
I planted the tomatoes in bottomless 2 gallon pots so that I have a barrier to keep the water in. (Sometimes during the summer the soil here gets a crust and the water rolls downhill before sinking in.) The inverted 1 gallon pots on top of the T-posts are to increase the surface area of the posts and help prevent them from tearing holes in the plastic.
And here we have the visqueen in place, held down with cast-off bits of firewood that were too rotten, oddly-shaped, or long for the woodpile.