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row covers

We’ve always done it this way… or not.

This year has been the Year of the Pudgy Squirrels, but it has also been the Year of the Bunny. Oh, do we have bunnies. And they are extremely fast on their little furry feets, too. I set out kohlrabi, cauliflower and broccoli plants and snip, snip. (more…)

Putting seeds in early: Is it worth the trouble?

This spring in the northeast has been totally crazy. We had about ten days at the beginning of March that were heavenly. Daytime temperatures in the 60s or 70s. Unbelievable.

I’d already put seeds into one of the beds, watered them well and covered them up with a double layer of ‘Remay'(tm), which is a spun polyester row cover product. I had to double it up so that the holes (we’ve used this for several years running) in the cover would have another piece of polyester to mask them. It’s held down with very high tech stuff: A couple of broom handles and some rocks in strategic spots. The seeds had just started to emerge when the weather completely changed.

Nightime temperatures in the low single digits. Rain. Sleet. Snow. Wind. Icy goodness-knows-what. And that lasted for the next two weeks, followed by warmer (but still not warm – low 40s is definitely nicer than mid-teens, but with the wind, the wind-chill factor was definitely down there) temperatures during the day but still freezing temperatures at night. The daffodils were knocked down; one of the flowering bushes had already blossomed and the flowers were completely frozen out, the white blossoms turned into brown mush.

I figured it was all a loss.

I went out today – it was much nicer, in the high 50s, sunny and rather windy. And I steeled myself to lift up the row cover and see what was there.

bingo! We have a couple of winners. Every patch of seeds that I planted that were from the cabbage family (broccoli, chinese cabbage, kale, etc.) were up and although they were obviously crouched down and had not done a whole lot of energetic growing over the past several weeks, they were definitely alive. Plus, we have a healthy patch of spinach as well. The seeds from things from the beet family (beets and chard) either pooped out or never germinated but I can get more. I’m really happy to see that we had some survival there.

But – the reminder is this: all that stood between those seedlings and basically being frozen out and killed was a double layer of spun poly row cover.

Worth it? Yep.

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