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Floating Row Cover

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Floating Row Cover

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/12/2014, 4:13 pm

I got my early spring seeds in--spinach, radishes, peas, arugula, and vit and also planted my onion starts last weekend.  We've got low 20s in the forecast for Monday night and mid 20s for Tuesday night.  I usually don't fret over 25 or anything higher with those things....but the low 20s Monday night has me a bit concerned as the seeds are just starting to emerge.  I put some floating row covers over the areas with seeds and even over the onions (the little leaves are flattened some but that should be fine).  Also have thunderstorms in the forecast tonight, so that might help with any heavy rain we get.  Curious if anyone else uses row covers for this and with what success?  What temps make you take action for the cool season crops?
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/12/2014, 5:41 pm

I normally use plastic for covers but this season so far  I've used the floating row cover twice on a hoop tunnel over an SFG box when the  temps got down below freezing. Both times were during storms and both times it blew off, clamps and all. I've never had that problem before with other covers. During the same storms I had another box where I used wide weave burlap for a dome cover and it did not blow off either time.

From now on I'll use plastic or burlap for domes or tunnels. In my area I think the row cover is fine for shade during the more gentler hot days and would be fine against cold if it were laid directly over the box rather than on a hoop.

CC
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/13/2014, 1:43 am

I don't use row cover strictly for the frost protection. A farmer at our local farmers market told me he gets his crops sometimes a month earlier in spring when using row covers during the winter, as they protect plants from cold not only directly, but indirectly, by sheltering them from winds that dry and cool them. In the winter, he says, even plants that don't produce much growth can be busy establishing root systems. Those same plants, he says, often burst into furious growth once the temperature warms up a little. And in the summer, it can delay cool-weather crops' tendency to bolt.

I've only used row cover once, this last winter. But it did preserve a lot of the stuff I planted through the coldest winter we've had in 30 years, one that was also extremely dry. And some of it looks pretty good.
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/15/2014, 7:32 pm

Well 19F and ~15 hours below freezing doesn't seem to have any ill effects on the radish, arugula and to my surprise sprouted spinach seedlings.  The onions also look fine.  I'll get a better look tomorrow when I remove the floating row covers--but since tonight looks to be in the mid 20s I'll leave them on yet tonight.
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/16/2014, 6:54 pm

Took the row covers off this evening.  All the seedlings looked good and the peas are starting to emerge.  The onions look OK, a little damaged but I think they'll be ok--we'll see what the next few days brings.
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  southern gardener on 4/16/2014, 7:35 pm

hmmmmmmmmmmm...this gets me thinking. Would the row cover go well over the "covers" I made out of hardware cloth?  I'll bet they would!! We hardly ever get a freeze, but gives me ideas!!
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/16/2014, 8:26 pm

I reckon it would.  In fact that gives me an idea!  I think I'll try making some squash/cucumber 'boxes' with the hardware cloth and line with row cover to keep beetles out when they first emerge.
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Re: Floating Row Cover

Post  southern gardener on 4/16/2014, 9:11 pm

@jmsieglaff wrote:I reckon it would.  In fact that gives me an idea!  I think I'll try making some squash/cucumber 'boxes' with the hardware cloth and line with row cover to keep beetles out when they first emerge.
 jmsieglaff, they will keep them out! We have about 9-10 of the covers and LOVE them. Keeps out the beetles, cabbage moths etc etc and lets the bees in. Easy peeeezy to make too !  good luck!
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