Wednesday, August 5, 2015


This bed has been empty for far too long. I should have planted out the turnips about a week ago. Things don't grow very quickly in the fall as there is too much shade. So I have to start them earlier to get them to size up well first. Then they can grow slowly.

Last year this rotation got mustard seed. I still have plenty of mustard seed left, so I figured I'd grow something else in the same family. My summer attempt to grow turnips failed miserably because of the flea beetle explosion. I've picked some, but not all that many.

So this planting I've covered with Agribon as a row cover. The fleece cloth does a much better job of keeping small insects out than my netting. I hope it works. Agribon is my least favorite row cover. Water tends to bead up and not go through the cloth. It looks ugly. And this is a light version, so it is very fragile. Really there is nothing to recommend it except that it can keep flea beetles out better than any of the others I have.

Three row covers: netting, Agribon, GrowCover

My favorite row cover is plain netting that you buy in a fabric store. It does have a flaw. It is very fragile. So you have to treat it with care and occasionally repair it. I buy it in brown. After a couple of weeks in the sun it fades to green. I laugh at that as when I put it on it goes over the brown soil. In a couple of weeks the green plants are up and like a chameleon it turns green too. I like it as it is the prettiest in the garden and the most see through. The garden feeds my soul as much as my body, but it can't do that if I can't see my plants. A bunch of white tents really doesn't put a smile on my face like the sight of green leaves. But flea beetles have no trouble getting in to a netting row cover. The holes really are fairly large.

I pretty much can't see anything through Agribon, but hopefully my turnips will grow. I'll have to keep peeking under to check. And I'll give the bed extra water for when it doesn't soak in well.


  1. I share your opinion of Agribon. We have stuff like that here, though it is not sold under that name. As you say, it is very fragile. I find that it gets waterlogged quite easily and then subsides onto the plants in a soggy mess.

  2. I started off using Agribon for nearly everything and have since changed to netting for nearly everything. The only time I use Agribon now is if I'm trying to keep the bed a bit warmer or as a shade cloth for the lettuce. Oh yes and, as I learned from you, it really is the best when it comes to keeping the carrot bed moist before germination.

  3. Thanks for sharing the info on row covers. We're planning on putting some in for the first time, and I'm trying to figure out what I need. Do you just put the PVC arches into the ground, or do they have a holder?

    1. I've done both. Sometimes I'll pounds a 2' long rebar a foot into the ground and put the arches on that. Sometimes I don't bother. Light row covers that don't block the wind don't need a lot of support. Heavier ones need more especially if you are in a windy spot.

  4. We always seem to forget to plant turnips are swedes. Nowadays it seems that we are having to cover up more and more of our crops.

  5. I need to sow some turnips here. I have the bed ready, I just need to get out and do it. Aug 15 is usually the last date I can get a purple top to mature, but the salad turnips can go in even later.