(Photo shows row cover with and without hoops.)
Today we are covering our fall planted spring beds for winter with Floating Row Cover. Most folks tend to think we are doing this for cold-weather protection but in fact the main reasons we cover is to prevent damage from creatures like deer, fox, squirrels and birds and also from the drying wind.
Although the Floating Row Cover. is rather lightweight, it is easily ripped with paws. It is the illusion it creates that makes it work. When you cover a planting as soon as it is completed the animals don’t even realize what they are missing under there. In addition, the white color discourages their investigation. We tend to use hoops on our beds to lay the Floating Row Cover. on and this really creates a spooky setting for them—then add in a bit of wind making it blow. They are sure it is alive!
There is the occasional investigator that goes in anyway—but this doesn’t usually happen. We are experiencing damage now on beds not covered yet from a fox that is ripping the bed film to get to the irrigation tape. In season when the tape holds water the creatures learn to chew it to get water. Foxes are so smart! He remembers this because this tape is brand new and hasn’t even had water run through it yet this—so it is not like he smells water.
Anyway, we will cover our beds early this year thanks to this eager fox; normally I do it right before Christmas. I will provide a water source for all the creatures to visit back in that garden to help prevent this also. An upside down outdoor trash can lid does a fine job of holding water in a way that most everybody can drink from. The other damage folk’s experience in summer when the tomatoes are fruiting is squirrels and birds making holes in the tomatoes, they are going for the moisture. Place a water source in your garden before it begins producing fruit to actually train them and your damage will be prevented. We lose basically no produce to this type of damage with our gardens loaded with squirrels and birds.
Prevention is the key and so much easier! Consider the problem from a creature’s point of view to fix your garden problems.
Enjoy fall and winter gardening!
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at email@example.com , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .
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