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What you need:
  • 6 mil clear plastic
  • Shovel
  • Meat thermometer
Solarizing is a great way to ensure that you are planting into disease and weed-free soil. Mark off the area to be treated, and dig a trench about 6" deep around it.
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It's important to soak the ground thoroughly to a depth of about three feet before laying down your plastic. Lay the plastic over the area and secure one side of it by covering the plastic that is lying in the trench with soil.
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Now go to the opposite side of the plastic, and pull it tight over the entire area.
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Fill that side of the trench in with soil, and continue tightening the plastic on the other two sides.
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Ideally you want the plastic to be in direct contact with the soil. It's also best to solarize your soil during the hottest part of the year. Leave the plastic down for at least six weeks and even the most persistent of perennial weed seeds should be killed.
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A temperature of 120 degrees is sufficient for sterilizing the soil. A common meat thermometer does a great job of checking the temperature. Just poke it into the soil as far as it will go, and you should get an accurate reading.