Row Covers, Using them to extend the growing season.

Row covers, Using them to extend the growing season.

Fall lettuce is easy to grow in Lexington Kentucky with row cover.

Row Covers, Using it 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

Row cover, using it to extend the growing seasonl; anchored by landscape stones

Row cover, using it to extend the growing season.

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?

The following links give you a bunch of different choices. I am going to list these according to size and the types that I have used with great success.  The larger chunk you purchase the cheaper per squre foot will be the price.

The Reemay brand is lighter weight than the AG 19 but is much cheaper.  AG 19 should be used in windier climates and harsher weather.

 

Reemay Garden Blanket – 67 Inches x 20 Feet
Reemay Garden Blanket – 67″ x 100′
Row Cover AG-19 10 Feet Wide by 50 Feet Long by David’s Garden Seeds (vob)
Summerweight Garden Fabric 6′ x 50′

I have not tried the TunLcovers listed below but generally they are a heavier fabric and provide  more protection.  You will need to buy the wire or find another way to support the fabic because the fabric gets too heavy with the evening dew and can damage the plants.

JWALT TunLcover Superior Plant Protector, 2-Pack 18 Foot Size
JWALT TunLcover Superior Plant Protector, 2-Pack 18 Foot Size
Dalen Gardeneer 5-Foot x 50-Foot Harvest-Guard Plant Protection HG-50
Breathable Protective Fleece Plant Tunnels Set of 2, in Green
Row Cover AG-19 83 Inches Wide by 50 Feet Long by David’s Garden Seeds

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  1. […] The Romaine varieties also like cool weather. Most of them will live through a heavy frost and with a little row cover, may live even when the temperature drops down into the teens. Click here to read about row covers and which row covers are the best to purchase. […]

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