Topic: Criteria in choosing your floating row cover
Are you thinking of an effective and economical way of protecting your plants from frost? What about a tool that is easy to use in keeping away flying insect away from your vegetable crops? Does it sound nice? If your answer to the question asked is a yes or perhaps a maybe, then rejoice because there is a convenient, reusable, economical, and effective way does exist. It is called floating row cover or a frost blanket. For manufacturers, it is called Argyl, Agronet or Reemay. It can be used in diverse ways, such as a barrier to insects, varmints, the wind, and frost. Floating row cover is used on virtually all type of crops, from cabbage to sweetcorn to strawberries. Most commercial vegetable gardeners depend on it heavily. It is a tool that must home gardeners are in love with.
It’s Features It is very light weighted and a translucent material, which is directly placed over the crops to safeguard it from different unfavorable conditions. Its name is derived because it does not require hoops to be supported with. It can be placed right on top of the growing crops, which give it room to float above them. When is the ideal time of using floating row cover?
Some situation will require you to make use of hoops in supporting your floating blanket. If your primary reason for using the row cover is for the protection of frost, then it is a better option to support it with the hoops wire. The purpose of the hoops is to help in keeping the row cover from having contact with the plant leaves and freezing them. Apart from this, you should also consider the use of hoops if you are growing a tomato, summer squash, or pepper plants. Most plants are not damaged when they get in contact with the row cover, but the pepper plants, summer squash, and tomato are affected. In windy season, the floating cover can damage the tender part of plants and break off some of their leaves.
Choosing the right floating row cover Assuming you have made the decision of buying a new floating blanket, then you should consider the following
- The weight of the cover: There are different row covers available in the market today and come with different weight. Some can be as light or heavy as 0.3 and 2.0 ounces/sq. yd. respectively. The heavier ones provide adequate frost protection, however, only give room to a small amount of light to penetrate through them. During the daytime, they have to be removed to enable the plant to get some sunlight. The lighter ones on the order hand provide minimal frost protection. These lighter ones can be left on the crops during the growing season completely.
- The width of the cover: This is another thing to consider as some come in width of different sizes such as 6 to 50 feet. The perfect widths for most garden beds are 6, 8, or 10-foot widths. A wider row cover will be too much for you to handle in a windy period.
- The size of the roll: The row cover comes in roll like a paper towel. Remember that the cheaper ones have larger rolls and are much heavier.
- Price: This is an important factor to consider, as row covers that are heavier are more expensive than the lighter ones. The longer and wider the row cover is, the cheaper it will be.