The initial evaluations of plastic mulch (polyethylene film) for the production of vegetables in the 1960s produced some dramatic results that would forever change the face of vegetable and small fruit production in the U.S. The use of raised beds, plastic mulch, and drip irrigation (plasticulture) has increased 10% per year in the last 10 years in this country.
Growers find not only yield increases and higher quality of harvested vegetables, but they are using less water to grow the crop to maturity. In addition, they use fertilizers more efficiently and reduce total pest problems during the growing season. The use of plasticulture for vegetable production has also extended the availability of vegetables throughout the U.S. and production of semi-tropical plants not previously produced here.