So most of our spring seedlings are now out of their soil blocks and getting planted into the ground. But being Mudgee, there’s still plenty of frosts, which doesn’t sit well with spring veggies – time for spring row covers!
Row covers are pretty invaluable in a small setup like ours – we dont have oodles (or any) space in greenhouses to grow out veggies ’till the last frost passes, so once they’re past the seedling stage, it’s into the ground for them. Row covers help in a range of ways and are simple to construct.
The benefits of floating row covers include, but are not limited to:
- raising the night-time temperature of the bed to prevent frostbite
- protecting crops (somewhat) from hail etc
- can be used to protect crops form cabbage moths, birds etc
- after a heavy frost (highly non-ideal), you want the plants to thaw out slowly to increase their chances of survival
- can be easily removed for harvest or checking
- water permeable so can stay put for watering + rain
In short, row covers are like a light blanket for crops. They’re water permeable, light to work with, and let the sunshine in. We got our floating row cover from Allsun Farm, and it’s called Geo20 – a light, spun polyester fabric, that comes in great long rolls.
For the hoops, we use 3/4 inch scrap polypipe, cut to size as needed. We secure the hoops to the ground with short lengths of 1/2 inch re-bar, which is great for the purpose and worth getting specifically as it works so well with the 3/4 inch pipe.
An economical solution to upping our chances of a good harvest sooner in the season! Row cover from Allsun Farm can be got here (scroll down to floating row cover).