Friday, October 17, 2008

Row Covers

Our warm spell is over. I was out picking raspberries for my cereal this morning and needed a jacket. Brrrr. Boston is predicted to get to freezing on Sunday night, but Saturday night will also be in the 30Fs. I decided it was time to get all of my greens under cover before the possible frost. I have a very unfrosty micro climate here since I'm near the top of a hill, so I might not get one.

I didn't want to use the row covers that were on my broccoli and Asian greens because remay really blocks the light and we no longer have much of that. It is dark by 6:30. So it is time for plastic.

The above photo is what was out previously. Between the two beds covered by remay are my lettuce Swiss chard and bunching onions. At the left are my snowpeas that will be fine without a cover. In front of them, where you can't quite see are my carrots, also not being covered. They get sweeter with the cold, so I want to keep them out. In the right hand bed it is mostly cover cropped, though I do have some basil left which I will let die and behind the basil are my leeks.

This is the after photo. Now my whole greens and broccoli section is covered by plastic. The days will be in the mid 50Fs for a while, which can be a problem because it can easily warm over 20F degrees in the sun under plastic. I'll have to uncover the plot for the few hours the sun hits the bed, but the rest of the time I'll leave it covered. Which reminds me. I have to get myself out there right now to cover it back up.


  1. I love your garden, I shall stop by some time to read more on your blog.
    We are just getting ready for our hot summer and adding shade cloth over our seedlings to get then started. Its good reading blogs from different seasons, if its boiling hot here I can look at the snow in the USA.

  2. How long have you kept greens growing under plastic in the past?

    I am thinking about putting in a hoop cover but I am not sure how long I can use it for.

  3. Reading about your veggies is making me hungry! Keeping the plants happy as the weather shifts is a bit of work, but well worth it. Here in San Diego most gardeners just go with the flow and give up on the warmth-loving herbs and veggies as the nights cool, but the commercial growers use acres of plastic, particularly in the spring to get a jump on the season. Hmmm. You've got me thinking about how I might get a few more weeks out of my basil and tomatoes...

  4. qGlad to see you have your row covers on before the frost hits. Yours look pretty cool... and you definitely have more greens out than we do... so far... hehehehe...

  5. Hello Daphne, I've been thinking of that, to cover in the autumn as well. I've never done that but now I'm gonna. Have a nice weekend/Tyra

  6. Hi Maggie. I've been following the Hills and Plains Seedsavers for ages now. I got a real kick when Kate visited France and I read the trip from two sides since I follow a blog there too. I love the Australia blogs. Though I get all confused when I forget where they are. Why are you planting tomatoes in the winter? LOL. Oh yeah, Australia. But it will be even more fun to follow you all as our season wraps up. In a couple of months our ground will be solid ice. So my gardening will be all vicarious.

    Dan: I wish I could tell you, but it varies so much. Before I've only used remay. With that it gives 2-3 extra weeks. Which means a lot in the spring but not in the fall when the sun is so dim. But the remay gets squashed flat in our snow storms and the sun can't get through at all. I'm sure the plastic won't fare any better. So the first snow storm is probably the end. Someday I'll build cold frames which are better insulated and could last well into December, but not today.

    lostlandscape: I envy you your year round growing season even if you can't grow tomatoes without protection in the winter. You can still grow broccoli and Swiss chard (yum). I'm actually only using plastic this year because I found the sheet in the garage - and the Shibaguys were doing it and it sounded like it might make the fall garden last longer than Remay. Remay I actually buy and find it very useful. There are a lot of things that won't grow here without its protection.

    Shibaguyz: Well I blame you for me getting out the plastic after reading about it on your blog :>. I wasn't going to fight the seasons in the fall, but maybe I'll get fresh chard for Thanksgiving.

    Tyra: I love how things travel in the blog world. From the Shibaguyz to me to you. Maybe we will all have good greens later than usual.

  7. I have used Remay but only for hard frosts (we don't get that many in Seattle) and when I forget, sometimes my hardier greens bounce back anyway (like arugula), only a bit spicier, I think. Good for you for going to all that trouble, covering and uncovering. I'm too lazy! :)

  8. Hi Daphne,
    For us, our gardens are about to come alive. Our short and cool winters have everyone planting all kinds of flowers. Reading about ground-covers, overwintering and protection makes me realise how much of hard work goes into saving and caring for your plants.

    Loved your garlic post! It was a new thing for me too.

    Have a wonderful week!