Row Cover for Vegetable Gardens
Posted August 30, 2016
Row covers for the vegetables garden is an indispensable tool! Every gardener should always have a supply of light weight and heavy weight row cover on hand. Not only can you protect your crops from UV sun damage, pests, cold and hot weather, but conserve water as well!
Light weight floating row cover is made of spun-bonded fabric that is so lightweight that it lays right on top of plants and rises as they grow. This is perfect for starting seeds, planting small transplants, protecting them from hot sun rays while keeping in moisture and the birds from nipping at new starts. It is also great for keeping aphids and cabbage loopers off your starts right from the get go! If growing plants that need pollination, be sure to allow for pollination once the flowering begins. Simply roll up the sides and open the ends to allow beneficial pollinators to enter.
Light weight row cover can also protect tomatoes, peppers and eggplant from scorching sun, but still allows 85% light transmission. Light weight row cover protection will also keep plants a bit cooler. This is particularly important for those who live in the hot desert climates. Tomato production can be increased when using it during the summer months.
Light weight Floating Row Cover Installation (No Hoops)
- Plant your vegetable beds in advance with seeds or transplants.
- Unfold the row cover (calm days are best).
- Drape row cover over the bed loosely.
- Secure to ground every 4-6 foot using fabric pins, nails or rocks. Leave enough slack to allow for growth.
Heavier row cover is used for frost protection. It is more dense and filters more UV light and should be removed on nice warm days. This type of row cover should be used with some kind of hoop to keep the weight off the plants. Homemade PVC pipe hoops, metal hoops or even cages can be used. Winter gardening can be done when using a heavier row cover in many climates. This cover is great to have on hand for late spring frosts or early fall frost to protect tender crops to extend your growing season a few more weeks or even a month or more in some cases.
Heavy Row Cover Installation (PVC Hoops)
- Pound two pieces of rebar into opposite sides of vegetable bed with a slight angle toward center, leaving about 6" exposed.
- Slide PVC pipe over each rebar to create a hoop and continue down the row.
- Cut a piece of row cover the length of the bed plus 6-8 foot longer.
- Lay the row cover over the hoop and secure on both ends of each hoop. Extra material can be cut off to keep from flapping in the wind.
- Gather the loose ends of cover and tie together, staking into the ground.
Heavy row cover can be expected to last for years, while lightweight row cover is less expensive, but generally will only last a growing season. In any case both are a valuable must have for the vegetable garden.