Growing Together: Open Forum

  • 1.  Row Covers

    Posted 08-31-2021 09:55:00 AM
    Edited by Lara Guerra 08-31-2021 10:01:05 AM
    I garden with 1st and 2nd graders in Dallas so our winters aren't usually too bad. Last years polar vortex was the exception to the rule (I hope!) but I still want to over prepare just in case it happens again. We have 4' x 8' beds with PVC pipe hoops above and our garden is adjacent to a very windy soccer field. The width and length of what I am able to purchase locally makes it hard to secure the covers and keep them from blowing in the wind.

    If you garden in a colder climate than Dallas, do you have row covers in your garden? What brand and weight do you use? How do you weight the sides down?

    Thanks for any thoughts or feedback you care to share.

    Lara Guerra
    The Hockaday School
    Dallas, TX

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    Lara Guerra
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  • 2.  RE: Row Covers

    Posted 08-31-2021 11:12:00 AM
    Hi Laura,
    Maybe try placing some rebar in the corner of the beds and sliding the pvc over the rebar when you need the row covers?




  • 3.  RE: Row Covers

    Posted 08-31-2021 11:30:00 AM
    Hey Laura, I'm in Springfield Mo. Zone 6a. I believe we use Agribon AG-19. I bet being in Dallas you could use as low as AG15 and be okay. I think keeping the physical frost off of the leaves makes a bigger impact on plants than the actual temperature. I've overwintered peppers in an unheated high tunnel that got down below 20 degrees and they still lived and fruited the following summer. We weigh the sides down with whatever we have on hand. Old bricks, sand bags, rock bags, individual rocks, bags of mulch, whatever we can. In the past at a farm I worked at, we used old paint cans with concrete poured in them. 

    Hope this helps!

    https://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/row-covers-and-accessories/frost-protection/agribon/

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    Kendall Slaughter
    Farm to School Specialist
    Springfield Public Schools
    Springfield, Mo
    keslaughter@spsmail.org
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  • 4.  RE: Row Covers

    Posted 08-31-2021 12:36:00 PM
    Edited by Aubrey Johnson 08-31-2021 01:00:57 PM
    Hi, Lara,

    I'm in Montana, so definitely colder than TX, and we get a lot of wind, too!  I'll second Kendall's suggestion.  We use the same Agribon row cover on our row crops at our downtown farm as well as over PVC hoops at one of our school gardens.  At the farm we anchor them with sand or rock bags, but at the school we use rocks at the base and try to get the row cover as tight as possible.  If it blows around still, we've used binder clips on the PVC hoops.  This is just for season extension, though.  Our garden season is over late October - mid-November, depending on when the snow comes!

    Good luck!

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    Aubrey Johnson
    Farm to School of Park County
    Livingston, MT
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  • 5.  RE: Row Covers

    Posted 09-03-2021 01:35:00 PM
    Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who replied to my question about row covers. I really, REALLY appreciate it! You shared valuable information and now I know what to do! 

    Lara Guerra

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    Lara Guerra
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  • 6.  RE: Row Covers

    Posted 09-28-2021 11:29:00 AM
    We're in the mountains in Colorado, different climate, but this is a video about how our farmer uses row covers on raised beds. It's quite simple and makes it easy to cover/uncover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj18VikHsb8

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    Rachel Zerowin
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  • 7.  RE: Row Covers

    Posted 09-29-2021 09:10:00 AM
    Wow, Rachel, thank you SO MUCH for sending this video! I have hoops and and covers for my beds; but even so, we continually fight the battle of how to secure them because it can get so windy with the cold storms blow in.  The technique show in the video is brilliant and I'm going to test it out this season for sure! After last winter with the week of bitter cold that even went down to -2 (I'm a native Dallasite and I have NEVER seen it that cold here), I'm trying to be proactive and get everything in order ahead of time. THANKS AGAIN for sharing such great info!

    Lara Guerra

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    Lara Guerra
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