Spike Tooth Harrow

Plastic Mulch Layers

3-foot mulch layer

Available in sizes to lay 3 or 4 foot plastic mulch, these units are made in the USA to fit walk-behind tractors and, properly adjusted, do a great job laying plastic mulch and burying the edges. (Unlike many 4-wheel-tractor mulch layers, this tool DOES NOT make a raised bed at the same time as laying the plastic; a walk-behind tractor does not have enough traction to both move soil into a raised bed AND bury the edges of plastic mulch at the same time.) The 3-foot model will flat-lay plastic mulch on a flat surface and bury the edges (in other words, the 3-foot model is NOT made to work in conjunction with raised beds)…however, the 4-foot model is designed to lay plastic mulch over a 30” raised bed if desired (it can also flat-lay as well). The best tool for creating the raised bed to work with the 4-foot layer is our BedShaper, as it makes the most consistently-sized beds.

4-foot mulch layer working on raised bed

These units come with no ‘pre-set’ adjustments from the factory, and with good reason: they perform differently in different soil types, moisture conditions, tilths of soil, etc. We always tell buyers of this item to “give yourself a few hours to play around with it” to get all the adjustments right for your soil. PREREQUISITES FOR USING THIS TOOL EFFECTIVELY ARE: WELL-WORKED SOIL, LEVEL BEDS, AND SOIL NOT TOO WET. Always figure that 4 to 6 inches of plastic will be buried on each side of the bed, so for example 3-foot plastic, once the edges are buried, leaves about 24 to 28 inches of exposed plastic to plant in. 4-foot plastic will leave 36 to 40 inches exposed if flat-laid; if over a 30” raised bed, it covers the top and “shoulders” of the bed, and is buried nicely at the bases of the bed, PROVIDED that the total width + height of the bed does not exceed the total width of the plastic mulch (taking into account the fact that 4 - 6” of plastic need to be buried on each side). For example: if you have a raised bed that is 30” wide at the top, and the bed is 6” tall, then the side “slopes” of the bed are probably more like 7 or 8” long each, let’s say 7.5”. So, 30” + 15” is 45”… This will not work! You don’t have enough plastic to bury the edges! Either the beds have to be narrower, or slightly shorter, so that once the top and sides of the bed are covered, you still have AT LEAST 4” of plastic left on each side to bury. FOR FORMING THE MOST CONSISTENT RAISED BEDS THAT WILL WORK BEST WITH THE 4-FOOT PLASTIC MULCH LAYER, WE RECOMMEND OUR “BEDSHAPER” IMPLEMENT.

30-inch wide raised bed being
plastic-covered by 4-foot mulch layer

The moisture-retaining abilities of plastic mulch also mean that irrigation is almost certainly necessary, as no rain can penetrate it. Drip-tape laid under the plastic is therefore almost a must. Both mulch-layer sizes have a drip-tape laying accessory available, which will lay down one row of drip-tape under the plastic as you lay the plastic down. Another option is to lay down the drip-tape manually, before you lay the plastic mulch…if you want multiple rows of drip-tape per bed, this is your best option. (It is possible to mount TWO drip-tape kits to lay two lines of drip-tape at once while you’re laying the plastic…but this really gets on the bulky & heavy side, so most folks prefer to just lay the drip-tape manually if more than one line is desired.) The drip-tape carrier works nicely with up to 1600-foot rolls of drip-tape (which we stock), but these are a higher price per-foot compared with larger rolls… so some folks buy one smaller roll and then re-use the spool and re-roll it off of a larger roll. OR, we also have an “expansion” accessory available for the drip-tape carrier to enable it to take up to a 3000 foot roll. (The disadvantage of this is that the larger roll is HEAVY and makes the implement harder to maneuver.)

Overall, this whole system is very simple and quite easy to modify to meet your needs. The tractor pictured above has 16 inch (total) axle extensions on it, which many folks prefer so that no soil under the plastic mulch has “tire tracks” in it (These axle extensions are REQUIRED for laying plastic over a raised bed, as you want the tractor wheels to straddle the bed) It is also recommended to have at least 22” tall wheels on the tractor for straddling a raised bed.

Dibble Wheel & frame mounted to Grillo G110 tractor

If you are doing enough planting with the same spacing to justify it, there is also a Dibble Wheel available to poke holes through the plastic for planting (which is an independent implement… there is no way to put the dibble wheel behind the mulch layer to do everything at one time)… each wheel comes with 6 ‘spikes’, which, equally spaced, put holes 1 foot apart. Extra spikes are available, and are fully adjustable on the wheel for virtually any spacing. Extra wheels can be added to the dibble wheel frame (up to 4 wheels total) for doing up to 4 rows in the same bed.

The 3-foot model will fit any walk-behind tractor with differential axle and minimum of 5x10x20” wheels; 4-foot model fits BCS 749, 852, 853, 750 and Grillo G110 only. Using mulch layers may require wheel weights, and work best when using 16” axle extensions to straddle the bed.

We also have Category 1, 3-point-hitch adapters to adapt these layers to small 4-wheel tractors.

NEW FOR 2019: We now offer a hand-held “Jab Seeder” for planting seeds manually through plastic or paper mulch. (Click here for info, and also see below in pricing section.)

NOTE: Mulch Layers DO NOT include any plastic mulch! We offer that separately, or you can buy from a local source. Mulch rolls 2500 feet or shorter are recommended.

Click here for a video of a plastic layer in action.

3’ plastic mulch layer

  • Item ET 1000 (Fits BCS 732 - 948, Grillo G85d - G131)
  • MSRP: $699 $650
  • Requires hitch assembly specific to tractor brand/model:
  • Hitch assy for post-1995 BCS quick-coupling: ET 0061 (included in mulch layer price) (Requires extra adapter to fit BCS 750, at extra cost!)
  • Hitch assy for Grillo G107 quick-coupling: ET 0063 (included in mulch layer price)
  • Hitch assy for Grillo G110 quick-coupling: ET 0062 (included in mulch layer price)
  • Wheel weights may be required
  • 16” axle extensions recommended
  • Minimum recommended tractor tire size 5x10x20” (larger OK)

4’ plastic mulch layer

  • Item ET 1001 (Fits BCS 749-853, Grillo G110 - G131)
  • MSRP: $899 $819
  • Requires hitch assembly specific to tractor brand/model:
  • Hitch assy for post-1995 BCS quick-coupling: ET 0061 (included in mulch layer price) (Requires extra adapter to fit BCS 750, at extra cost!)
  • Hitch assy for Grillo G110 quick-coupling: ET 0062 (included in mulch layer price)
  • Wheel weights may be required
  • 16” axle extensions recommended
  • Front-weight for tractor may be required for proper balance
  • For straddling raised beds, tractor must be equipped with minimum wheel size of 5x12x22”.

Accessories for mulch layers

  • Item ET 1002 Drip-tape layer kit for mulch layers above, accepts up to 1600’ rolls of drip-tape (does NOT include drip-tape): MSRP: $110 $100
  • Item ET 1003 “Expansion kit” for ET 1002, allowing up to 3000’ rolls of drip-tape to be mounted: MSRP: $50 $45
  • Item BM324-2 2400 ft. roll 3’ plastic mulch: MSRP: $75 $71
  • Item BM424-2 2400 ft. roll 4’ plastic mulch: MSRP: $105 $95
  • Item 33917-4 1000 ft. drip tape, 4” emitter-hole spacing: MSRP: $70 $59
  • Item 33917-12 1600 ft. drip tape, 12” emitter-hole spacing: MSRP: $85 $80
  • Item ET 1005 Frame assembly for Dibble wheel (32” wide, accepts up to 4 dibble wheels–requires male quick-coupling for specific tractor model): MSRP: $110 $100
  • Item HT 39910 Dibble wheel with 6 dibble spikes: MSRP: $175 160
  • Item HT 39911 Extra Dibble spikes for above wheel: MSRP: $16 $14 each
  • Item ET 1006 Category 1, 3-point hitch adapter frame (allows plastic mulch layers to be attached to 4-wheel tractor with category 1 3-point hitch mount): MSRP: $160 $150
  • Zilli Hand-Held “Jab” Seeder Click here for info Item HT Zilli 01 $150 $130

ET 1006 3-point hitch adapter