Seasonal Gardening: Row Covers on Spring Crops, Growing Rice and African Bee Trapping

The Seasons of the Garden column shares seasonal gardening news briefs on row covers for spring crops, growing rice on dry land and African bee trapping.

| March/April 1988

The Seasons of the Garden column shares seasonal gardening information and tips with MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers. 

Seasonal Gardening: Row Covers on Spring Crops, Growing Rice and African Bee Trapping

Row Cover Roundup 

More and more gardeners are setting row covers over their spring plantings to protect them against frost, to boost growing temperatures and even to keep out insects. If you use row covers unwisely, though; you can actually reduce garden productivity. For example, young tomato plants exposed to just a few hours of 95 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures (not uncommon under plastic on a sunny day) set fruit poorly later on.

Timing—deciding when to put on and remove the plant protectors—can have a big effect on success, but the most important factor is picking the correct material and design for your situation. That's not easy—there are literally dozens of types available.

Writing in American Vegetable Grower, Dr. Doug Sanders, Extension Horticultural Specialist at North Carolina State University, sized up the benefits and drawbacks of the major types of row covers.

Clear polyethylene, hooped: cheap and widely available; quite warm (can become too hot in some cases); labor-intensive installation and removal; poor frost protection.

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