Using Row Covers
Row covers are easy to use and last several seasons when stored properly. They allow sunlight and rain to permeate, but block the majority of heat during the day, trapping and using the soil’s warmth at night. Row covers help protect against pesky, bad bugs such as aphids, cabbage worms, leaf miners, Japanese beetles, and more.
I have provided a breakdown of row covers:
Featherweight – Insect netting, primarily used in the summer time to keep out pests and to reduce the amount of heat from direct sunlight. This cover transmits up to 85 percent sunlight. I wouldn’t recommend using this cover for frost protection.
All- Purpose – Provides season extension in early spring and late fall. It helps the soil hold heat, keeps out pests and is a great windbreak for transplants. This cover transmits up to 80 percent sunlight. It also provides protection against light frosts overnight, down to 28 degrees.
Heavy – A thicker version of All-Purpose, used for season extension in early spring and late fall, or for insulating berries and small fruits, herbs, perennials, and other tender plants all winter long. This cover transmits up to 60 percent sunlight. It also provides excellent protection from frosts, down to 24 degrees.
Most plants do not like to bear the weight of the row cover so wire hoops are necessary for optimal growth while the cover is in use. Using wire hoops for season extension is very important. Plants touching the row cover during a freeze are highly susceptible to frost damage. Grower’s Solution sells the coiled wire that is used to make hoops. There is approximately 171 ft. of wire. Depending on the size of the plant being covered, this is approximately 32 hoops if they are cut at 63 inches in length. The hoops need to be spaced out 3-5 feet in the row being protected.
You can cover the edges of the row cover with soil or you can use sand bags to hold it down. Either one works well. Just fold up the fabric when you are through and store in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight.
Here is a short informational video from Johnny’s Seeds about row covers.