Every year I hear gardening friends lament about how “someone” ate their strawberries. Or that someone’s friend devoured their seedlings. There are lots of someones in the land of gardening who find what you grow to be quite yummy. So, I resort to row covers to help me keep those “someones” at bay.
If I am going to put in the time in my garden then I want the harvest.
So when can row covers help?
6 Reasons Why You Need Row Covers!
#1 Deter Pests from Devouring Your Seedlings.
Your seedlings are like salad to slugs, rabbits, and other pests. They think they are absolutely delicious. I have lost more broccoli seedlings to slugs and other pests.
(Truth be told, I abhor slugs. Read about my encounter with these creatures. Don’t touch them unless you like slime.)
One day my seedlings look beautiful and the other day, they will have lost half of their leaves.
Cover your plants with a summer row cover until they are large enough to stand on their own. You can buy a package here.
Anchor them with rocks or bury them in the ground so slugs can’t sneak under them.
#2 Keep Birds From Removing Your Seedlings
For some reason, my peanut plants are targets. Every year “someone” pulls them out. They are not eaten but simply left for a slow tragic death.
Sometimes, I can revive them and get them back into the ground. Other times, I have been unsuccessful.
Since my garden beds are made up of compost and top soil, I surmised the birds are simply looking for worms. My compost attracts tons of worms.
Again, I use row covers to protect the plants until they are large enough for birds to stop yanking them out.
#3 Protect Against Rodents Who Think Your Flowers are Scrumptious
And by the way, pests don’t distinguish between vegetables and flowers. One year a ground hog thought he or she had died and gone to heaven every time they munched on my Canterbury flower plant.
I was stumped since I have so many flowers However, this ground hog just loved my Canterbury plant. Every time, I uncovered the plant, he or she munched on it. One died because of excessive munching.
#4 Protect Your Plants from Dreaded Summer Pest
Or the Mexican bean beetle is doing the “cucaracha” dance on your bean leaves. (And no this isn’t a happy dance.)
Yes, gardening is an endless series of the strongest survive. Unfortunately, that might be the pests in some cases.
Covering your plants with row covers helps to keep these bugs at bay. However, you can’t simply cover them. You need to make sure the bugs can’t crawl under the row covers either.
Remember, they want what you have.
#5 Protect Your Harvest
Who doesn’t love strawberries? Every pest, bird, and neighbor who shouldn’t be in your garden.
Chip and Dale (my garden chipmunks) are always looking for a free lunch and eye my strawberries. Just when they are mouth watering beautiful, Chip, Dale, and friends hip hop over my fence and snag a few.
What really irks me. They don’t finish the strawberries!
Yep. They leave them where I can see them. Half eaten.
(Yes, I see your blood boiling since you have been there yourself.)
Oh did I mention, how much my neighborhood raccoons who figured out my electric fence love my edamame? Since bush beans can get quite tall, you will need supports for the row covers. I have used these hoops but not really successfully. You need to bury them deep so they stay up straight.
Alternatively use a metal bender with galvanized electrical conduit to make sturdy hoops.
#6 Protect From Seasonal Fluctuations
In the Spring or early Fall, the weather is so unpredictable. I use a heavier row cover to protect tender plants. (I use this one.)
If you are like me, I push the boundaries of what I can grow in my area. Every October, I put row covers on my tender perennials and plants to extend the season. (I grow tropical hibiscus which create those yummy hibiscus calyxes.)
I have been able to eek out a couple more weeks on harvesting certain plants.
Join the Conversation:
Do you use row covers to protect your plants?
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