Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Combat this cold with a toasty warm blanket

My zone 5 garden is cold.  From all that I read on the internet, it's not just here.  Gardeners from much of the country are experiencing lots of cold weather and frustration.  Is it like this in late March every year?

Row cover is a way to combat these elements.   
Row cover (AKA floating row cover) is a lightweight blanket for your plants.  It’s an easy way to extend your growing season.  It also provides some protection from damaging winds and insects. 

With row cover, you can plant earlier in the spring.  Your seeds will germinate faster and the plants will get off to a better start.  Unfortunately, weeds will also grow much faster.  It’s easy to lose track of the progress that the weeds are making with the row cover to hide their dirty work. 

That being said, I still love this product.  Besides early spring growth, fall plantings grow better, and your vegetables will last longer in the soil.  In the late fall, you can double, triple, or add even more layers to increase the protection. 

The highest quality of row cover I’ve found is called Agribon.  Agribon is made in several different weights.  Agribon 19 offers several degrees of frost protection. I have had 12-15 degrees of protection with this product.  Agribon 19 also allows 85% of light transmission. 

This row cover is water permeable and is strong enough to last several seasons if it is well cared for after it's removal. 

The photo above shows row cover protecting lettuce, the vegetable that can't tolerate as much cold as the other vegetables in this garden.

Row cover is available in many garden supply catalogues.  And I sell it on Ebay.  I have a 25- foot-long section here, and a 50-foot-long section here.

Row cover is one of many ways to get the garden going in cold weather.  For other ideas, click here to visit my season extension page at my website.

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