South Texas Gardening with Bob Webster

Floating Row Covers

Garden fabric (also known as row cover or floating row cover) is a good addition to any gardener's tool shed because it can be used in so many ways:

* Protect plants from cold and wind
* Block insects and prevent spread of disease
* Keep soil and plants from overheating

Garden fabric is easy to use: You can drape the cover right over garden plants or use hoops or a wooden frame to support it. Secure the edges of the fabric with soil or use Earth Staples. Here are some options:

All-Purpose Garden Fabric is a polypropylene garden cover that transmits 80 percent of available light. It keeps heat in, bugs out, and is an excellent windbreak for young transplants. It allows rain and overhead irrigation to reach plants and soil.

All-Purpose Garden Fabric will protect plants from frost damage down to 28 degrees F. The fabric can be cut with scissors to fit over conventional-width rows or used as-is for wide-row plantings. When not being used, the material should be folded and stored away from sun and moisture.
Summerweight Covers

Summerweight fabric forms a barrier between insects and susceptible plants. Because the covers are thin, they don't trap as much heat. Summerweight Fabric is a featherweight garden cover that does not trap as much heat as the All-Purpose Garden Fabric and can be used all season long to defend your crops against birds, insects, and the spread of insect-borne diseases. It transmits up to 85 percent of available sunlight and will not block rain or overhead irrigation. This cover should not be used for frost protection.

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