Homeowners who grow their own vegetables always worry about their condition during certain parts of a year. For example, they worry about frost during the winter, too much heat and insects during the summer and unexpected cold snaps.
There is a solution to these problems and it’s called row-covers. The covers are available in different materials depending on the need. For example, there are super lightweight “floating” row covers made of spun polypropylene that protect seedlings from insect infestations. Avoiding pesky bugs during the beginning of the growing cycle permits the crop to flourish and grow quicker.
The covers increase in weight and density when incremental frost protection is added. Row covers used early in the spring help to reduce the time needed for seedlings to establish. This means that you don’t have to start seedling growth indoors.
Other advantages to these covers are that you can remove them after temperatures warm, or you can place the light weight floating covers for insect protection depending on the season. Moreover, during the sizzling heat of summer, a row cover can offer shade. When the autumn comes and temperatures decline, frost-preventing covers can be used. In some mild regions of the country, row covers can assist crops to grow throughout the winter.
In addition, row covers help to maintain humidity around the plants and reduce evaporation of moisture from the soil. The covers help to enhance the effects of drip irrigation and plants won’t dry out due to hot windy conditions.
The materials allow rain and air to pass through and simply sit on top of hoops over vegetable rows to create a temporary Quonset hut-like structure that serves as a greenhouse.
Row covers are basically about 4-feet wide and of an infinite length. They feature hoops that are made of wire, PVC plastic or metal grids that are commonly used to reinforce concrete. The fabric is simply laid over the hoops with the sides anchored to the ground either with rocks or dirt or even a long piece of lumber. The ends are gathered up and formed into ponytails and secured to the ground with a stake.
The covers can be removed when weather conditions allow for it or, as mentioned, different materials can be used depending on the problem.
It is truly a great way to resolve any problem that can arise in the growth cycle of vegetables. Covers can be found online at seed catalog sites and organic gardening farming supply stores. One site called GrowOrganic.com offers videos and articles on how to use row covers in residential gardens. They also sell a full line of covers.