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Tuesday Garden Party- Benefits of Using Row Covers
May 25, 2010
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I know a lot of the country is having hot weather, even unseasonably hot. Since we here in the NW have been having the opposite (lows were 37-40, highs 50-55 over the weekend…ugh) and I’ve been staring at my pepper seedlings that need to be planted outside, I’m sorta wishing for a little unseasonably hot weather.
The cool season vegetables have been doing well, though. I thought I’d share with you my broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage bed and show you the benefits of growing these under floating a row cover.
I have a few short portable metal hoops in the bed that I attached the cover to with clothespins when I transplanted the seedlings. Right after I took this picture I loosened the clips (and rocks in the corners) to allow for the taller growth. As you can tell, we’re super high-tech here.
I’ve mentioned that using this cover allows me to grow these crops with fewer aphid and cabbage looper damage. The first time I grew broccoli I had to throw it all away because all the heads were infested with aphids and no amount of water (or vinegar) or boiling would remove them all. I’ve used row cover ever since.
But I’ve also discovered that these crops, even though they are “cool weather crops,” like the slightly warmer and protected environment under the cover.
The cover has warmed the transplants 5 to 10 degrees, protected them from wind (which our garden gets lots of every afternoon), and the excessive rain and hail we’ve had over the past couple of months. These cabbages are enjoying the protection they’ve had since being planted out as small seedlings (if you’re wondering, the ferny plants in between are self-seeded dill. Oh, and a weed).
This picture illustrates the difference the row cover makes pretty dramatically:
These three little cabbages were planted at the same time as the others, but they were extras that wouldn’t fit in the main bed so I just found a place they could live out of the way and fend for themselves.
Isn’t that amazing? Even though it doesn’t look like it these little guys have grown a bit and they do look healthy but their brothers are about three to four times bigger!
Now, I don’t care because it means I’m going to be able to harvest these cabbages later than the others, so I’ll have a bigger harvest window. But I thought I’d show you the incredible difference in case you wanted to go find yourself some row cover for future plantings.
The broccoli really likes it, too. They’re about two feet tall and I’m starting to see some little green heads.
That’s it from my garden, now it’s time to link up and share what’s going on in your gardens!
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