By Marilyn Pokorney

Row covers are a matter of choice for gardeners. Some love them. Others hate them. If larger and more earlier yields of veggies is a goal then row covers are an excellent choice.

Row covers come in a wide variety of materials and can be used as tunnels supported by hoops or as floating covers which just lie gently on the growing plants.

The lightweight covers are used for keeping insect pests away from your plants while the heavier ones are used for frost protection in both the spring and fall.

Whether used with hoops or free floating the edges of the covers need to be weighted down to prevent them from blowing away in the wind and to prevent insect pests from getting under the covers. Weigh the edges down with rocks, bricks, or anything handy. A row of soil placed on top of the edges is an excellent and simple method.


Although studies show that most plants do best with hooped covers there are three plants that require hoops. Tomatoes, peppers and squash grow large and fast. These plants do best with hooped covers because the constant rubbing of the cover on the plants can damage the growing points and break the large leaves.

Added benefits of using row covers include:

Earlier and larger yields. Plants produce 1 to 3 weeks earlier than without row covers.

Frost protection of 4 to 7 degrees. Especially in the fall when the soil is much warmer than it is in the spring. Just one layer of row cover gives the added protection of moving the garden by one USDA growing zone.

Pest protection as long as the edges remain weighted down or buried.

Moisture Retention. The soil doesn’t dry out as fast under the row covers as the temperature isn’t as high as without the cover, and water under the row cover condenses and returns to the plants and soil.

Wind damage. Plants under row covers suffer less from high winds.

For more information on gardening with row covers visit:

About the Author: Marilyn Pokorney, Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. Website: Email: Current address on website


Permanent Link:

Comments are closed.