Using Row Cover

Collage of row cover

An item for consideration when growing vegetables is placing row cover on your crops. Row cover serves many purposes, including moisture retention, insulation from cold wind, and protection of young seedlings from sun scald and early-season pests such as flea beetles, aphids, or slugs.

Adding row cover involves installing hoops over your seeds or seedlings and placing a transparent or translucent cover (usually fabric) over the top. For smaller plants, you can usually avoid hoops and instead drape the row cover over the plants themselves if you leave enough slack for the plants to push the fabric up as they grow.

The fabric must be weighed down at the ends and every 5′ or so along the sides to remain sealed and windproof. A good summer row cover should allow some airflow and rainfall for your plants to survive, but it protects them from severe weather and infestations. Row covers are worth investigating if you’re thinking of maximizing your growing season or if you know that certain plants (such as radish, kale, and lettuce) are likely to be attacked by insects.