Muscatine Island Farm
Fresh market tomato production consists of selecting a well-drained site, an early variety, plastic mulch, possibly a row cover, and transplanting in the spring as early as possible. This procedure can result in advanced maturity and top early marketable yields when prices are usually highest. Our previous research has shown wavelength selective plastic (SRM-olive or red) coupled with a row cover has given consistent top, early yields.Clear plastic was also superior provided there was excellent weed control. Early production was highly correlated (r = 0.74) to maximum soil temperature at the 4-in. depth. Thus, clear plastic would be the mulch of choice.
Iowa State University
Taber, Henry G. and Lawson, Vincent, "Polyethylene Mulches and Preplant Incorporated Herbicides for Tomato Production" (2008). Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports. 729.