Every gardener out there can benefit from floating row covers. They are light, easy to store and inexpensive. And their use goes far beyond frost protection.
Do not be discouraged if you are not ready to build a mini tire house. In many cases, garden fabric can be draped directly onto plants and attached around the perimeter. The effort is therefore often minimal.
Read on for a short list of all the ways you can use floating row covers in your garden, how to choose the right types for your needs, and some tips to avoid possible pitfalls.
What is it?
The floating row cover, also known as garden fabric, is a white, thin, lightweight material that is used to protect plants for various reasons. The best known is frost protection.
It is usually made of polypropylene or polyester and does not absorb moisture. However, it lets rain and sunlight through. A piece can last several seasons, depending on how often it is used each year.
1. Protect the plants in the warm season from frost
I don’t know a single gardener who doesn’t want more time in every season. Well, garden tissue can actually give you more time to grow plants in the warm season.
Garden fabric varies in weight and density. To protect plants from frost, you need a heavier material that is specially designed to trap heat.
Gardens that are protected with heavy floating row covers are typical 4 to 10 ° F. warmer at freezing temperatures.
For short-term frost protection, all you have to do is lay the material loosely over the endangered plants and secure it with stones or earth around the circumference.
Knowing that you have this option will relieve stress and give you the opportunity to buy long-serving foods that are heat-loving tomatoes, paprika, and hot pepperoni, earlier than usual. Peppers need warmer temperatures to thrive, so using gardening materials can really make a difference.
If plants are allowed to grow under cover for a long time, it is best to build a support structure to increase airflow, leave plenty of room to grow, and avoid damaging the plants through unsupported material beating in the wind.
You should also make sure that you use a fabric that still lets a lot of light through.
2. Protect the plants from the heat in the cool season or warm them up in winter
Row covers too allow to extend the harvest of cool weather fruits like kale by relief from the hot sun.
When you try to protect Leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach Light row covers can be just the thing because they don’t spin too early during a random warm phase.
Ideally, they provide plenty of air circulation, but still block a lot of sunlight. Garden fabric is a great option when the weather warms in spring or at the end of summer at the start of an autumn harvest.
Also keep in mind that garden tissues in a region that is exceptionally hot or cold may grow food that you would otherwise not be able to grow.
You can also use heavy row covers during the winter to grow hard, frost-tolerant vegetables. like cabbage and Kale. This works especially well when the winters in your region are usually mild.
3. Keep pests away
A light floating row cover can change everything if insects, Rabbits, or deer Often feast on your plants. Look for those that are marketed for this purpose.
If you wear covers throughout the season, it is important to ensure that they are not heavy and should retain heat.
Leafy greens, root vegetables, and self-pollinating foods can be grown from seed to harvest, largely under the protection of garden tissues. Bush beans are a good candidate for this.
To effectively keep pests away, it is important to secure the material well with staples or soil.
4. Reduce the transplant shock
Seedlings grown indoors can often not cope with the stress of the outside weather immediately.
Therefore, seedlings are usually hardened, which means that they are slowly brought outdoors before being planted in the garden.
Instead of hardening the plants by exposing the seedlings to a long period of time for several days, you can instead place the plants under the protection of a light row cover. This reduces the intensity of the weather and gives the plants the opportunity to establish themselves.
Check plants often
If you use line coverage for a long period of time, there are a few points to consider:
First, many insects hibernate in the ground. So think of any insect problems you’ve had in the past so you know where to look.
Therefore, crop rotation is particularly important when row covers are used to protect against insect pests.
The last thing you want to do is catch pests emerging from the ground with your food! So be very vigilant. If you notice insect damage in the protection of the plants, examine them immediately.
Also for plants that need insect pollinators, such as pumpkinyou must regularly open tunnels or pollinate them by hand.
One of the most difficult aspects of using garden fabrics is that you can only see what’s going on in your garden if you take the time to investigate. Regularly checking the moisture content, temperature, air circulation and weed growth will save you disappointments later.
If the microenvironment created by the row cover ever gets too humid or too hot, just open the ends to allow more air to circulate.
Weeds are also likely to love the protected environment regular weeding is necessary. On the plus side, you have the option to check in your garden beds regularly.
Get the most out of floating line covers
Frost protection increase by 2 ° F to 4 ° F.Use two layers of material. The plants reach more than two layers and not enough sunlight.
Although you can lay fabric directly over plants, you should build a permanent structure. This way you can use the material in different ways and make it easy to install.
When tacking material to the floor, double the fabric to prevent tearing.
Keep covers dry and away from the floor, as rodents may see this as a cozy bed.
Treat yourself to the option
It doesn’t take much to buy a row cover floating a few meters. So what are you waiting for?
When the temperatures suddenly rise and threaten in April Your salad harvestIf you dip and strain your peppers, you will be grateful that you made the additional investment.
Do you have experience with floating row covers? What are your thoughts? We’d like to hear what worked and what didn’t. Let us know in the comments!