Row covers, Using them to extend the growing season.
I find so many gardeners that assume that vegetable gardening is mostly for the summer. About 30 years ago, I discovered row covers. Am I really that old?
In the Pacific Northwest Coastal region I first used them to help my hot weather plants get a jump on the growing season. I planted tomatoes and peppers under row covers and it protected them from the cool nights. A good row covering will protect usually at least three degrees. If you double the thickness then it will often protect at least seven or eight degrees.
Experience has taught me that doubling the row cover actually more than doubles the protection.
Since moving to Lexington Kentucky I have used row cover to mostly extend the growing season on my lettuce. I find that the very best lettuce flavor is in the early spring or the fall here in the Southeast. Fall lettuce here in Lexington is sweeter and crisper than even the spring lettuce.
Growing lettuce in the fall is also easier because after a few cooler nights most of the bugs and many of the slugs have died or disappeared.
Row Covers, Using them to extend the growing season is not a difficult task.
I have reused row covers for more than 10 years. It will last longer if you are able to keep it clean and as dry as possible. We get many sunny days in Lexington during the fall so it endures well in the fall. Our springs are wetter so the fabric does not dry out as well.
Stabalizing the Row Cover
I use landscape stones to secure the edges of the row cover so that it does not blow off. The fabric is very light so even doubled in thickness the plants are not squished. Securing the row cover also will keep it from getting tossed about by the wind which will prefent tears in the fabric.
Where do buy row cover and what should you purchase?