Floating row covers in action in winter. We have whipping wind for most of
the winter and spring. Just imagine if the plants had to take that wind.
Using row cover on Cool Flowers plantings can help more seeds sprout when planted in the garden, bring spring blooms a little earlier, protect seedlings from hungry rabbits and deer, and offers the plants excellent protection from cold wind damage. Cool Flowers don’t necessarily need cold protection because they are after all, cool-season annuals (see page 138 for listing of hardiness zones for specific flowers) however, they definitely benefit from the perks row cover offers.
Covering fall, winter and early spring plantings of flowers, herbs, and vegetables using hoops and floating row cover (no plastic) are super easy to install and maintain. I steer away from plastic because it needs far more attention than a simple row cover does. I find row cover when properly installed does the job for hardy annuals and it allows rain to penetrate that eliminates the need for winter irrigation. 85% of air, water, and light penetrate the lightweight row cover–so no need to remove during the day. When I feel the need for extra protection I just double this lightweight cover.
I put the covers on when nighttime temperatures begin dropping below 32 degrees. If a run of several warm days comes during winter that go above 55 degree, temporarily uncover to prevent encouraging plants to grow to big before their time. Recover when freezing weather returns.
Uncover in early spring when the threat of hard freezes has passed. Pull covers off and leave in garden for just in case until only above freezing is expected.
Floating row covers are great for protection from birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and pests. Covering plantings like strawberries, seedlings, and others immediately protect from damage. The creatures literally don’t even realize they are under there.
Row covers prevent so many problems in the garden that I’m not sure I would even be farming if it wasn’t for them!
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a cut-flower farmer, author and nationally recognized speaker on organic gardening and farming. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .
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