Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One Inexpensive and Effective Way to Protect Plants

As an organic farmer, I have to get creative with ways to protect my plants from pests each year. One great way I found is to use floating row cover, also known as Reemay (a brand name). Floating row cover (FRC) is a white, light-weight, non-woven fabric made from spun polyester or polypropylene. This fabric allows water and sunshine to penetrate it to reach plants, but not insects flying around looking for a new host. Insects can overwinter in the soil and get trapped under the row cover when they emerge in spring however, so check for pests when weeding. Rotating crops each year will help with this. Row cover also helps to raise the temperature a bit on those extra chilly spring nights.

The key to using row cover is to make sure that it is secured to the ground around plants, but has slack in the middle so plants can grow up underneath. Depending on the plants you are growing, you can leave it on for a large part of the season. Beware leaving it on plants that require pollinators, you may end up with a lot of plant and no fruit. Good Luck!

photo from BBB Seed 

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