The Plastic Mulch Layer (PML) is another useful and simple attachment for professional growers. This model adjusts to handle 3-foot or 4-foot wide plastic mulch and is perfect for laying plastic mulch over 30'' raised garden beds, provided that the beds are consistent in shape and size, and are not over 3” tall.
Compatible with models 749 and up, the PML lays plastic mulch and simultaneously buries the edges of the plastic on both sides to keep it anchored to the soil.
Using 3-foot rolls: With a 3-foot wide plastic roll, users can flat-lay plastic on flat beds while burying the edges, leaving approximately 26" of exposed plastic. 3-foot rolls are not meant to be used with raised beds.
Using 4-foot rolls: 4-foot wide plastic mulch is perfect for laying plastic mulch over 30'' raised garden beds, provided that the beds are consistent in shape and size, and are not over 3” tall. If used on 28” to 30” wide raised beds, the plastic will fully cover the top and sides of the bed and bury the plastic at the bottom. If 4-foot rolls are flat-layed, 36"- 40" of plastic can be exposed.
Like any soil-working implement, this attachment performs differently in differing soil types, and needs to be adjusted accordingly. The "openers" (opens the furrows), “press wheels” (presses the plastic down into the furrows), and "closers" (close up the furrows to bury the plastic) are all easily adjustable horizontally and vertically. These 3 items must be adjusted in line with each other for proper performance. Additional vertical adjustments can be made at the tractor connection point, with several sets of flange connection mounting holes.
A prerequisite is that the soil needs to be well-worked, dry, and level. Even with perfect soil conditions, the PML typically requires some experimental adjustments to obtain optimal results. The adjustments must be equal on both sides of the unit. Measuring the shanks on the openers, closers, and press wheels to confirm the settings are all equal is recommended.
This PML is designed for use with a 2400' roll of plastic for best handling. It includes a set of “plow openers”, which are used for flat-beds, and a set of 12" disc-openers for use on raised beds. It has a "floating" connection point allowing the implement to follow slight ground contours and a small amount of side-to-side play for small course corrections. A Quick Hitch bushing must be installed on the tractor, since the unit's mounting hitch has an integrated Quick Hitch tang. Plastic Mulch sold by BCS America is non-toxic and PVC-free.
Installing plastic mulch almost certainly requires the use of drip tape to provide water to the plants. A Drip Tape Layer Kit is available to simultaneously lay one row of drip tape under the plastic as it is being installed. The flange where the tractor connects to the PML is offset from the frame, enabling the operator to perfectly center the drip tape within the growing bed. While up to two Drip Tape Layers may be installed, this set up can be quite heavy. If multiple lines of Drip Tape are required, it is recommended that the tape should be laid manually before the mulch is installed. A 1000' Drip Tape Roll is also available, which features 4'' emitter spacing.
To avoid installing the plastic mulch over wheel tracks, the tractor's wheels need to straddle the bed. To straddle 30” wide raised beds, most tractors will need a set of 16” Wheel Extensions installed. A 5x12 minimum tire size is recommended for adequate ground clearance.
A removable toolbox/storage bin is available and sold separately. The toolbox features two 18x3" compartments and straddles the frame of the implement. The toolbox is a great way to keep frequently used tools, like utility knives and wrenches, nearby while you work.
BCS America's Plastic Mulch Layer is proudly made in the USA.
Wheel Weights may also be required to provide additional traction.