Experimenting with Row Covers

Experimenting with Row Covers

I transplanted the pepper plants yesterday — it’s been warm and sunny, and I was losing a few of them in the cold frame because they were in the little 4-packs, and sometimes I forget to water.

So, into the new 8 x 3.5 foot bed at the end of the new garden. It’s a sunny spot, and the fence bounces a fair amount of heat, so I’m hoping it will be a good microclime for peppers.

Every gardener has his or her obsession, and mine is peppers. This year, I have the usual assortment of oddball herilooms — most of which I’ve never grown before. The trick here is not letting them burn up during the day, and keeping them warm enough at night. Last year, I used plastic over my hoops, and those first few hot days fried a bunch of them. Also, using plastic meant they missed what little natural rain we get here — I’m convinced that real rain makes plants happier than chlorinated water from the hose (and I don’t even want to think about what chemicals are leaching through the hose material).

So this year, I’m experimenting with floating row cover. It diffuses the light some, which is good for tiny transplants, and lets the rain through. Also, provides some frost cover … we’ll see. I just ordered a bolt of the stuff for the tomatoes too — they have a tendency to fry with that fence behind them, and I’ve also had huge problems with flea beetles — both problems I’m hoping to solve with some row cover.

It’s one of the biggest reasons I wanted to rebuild the garden as a series of rectangles, so I could use hoops more effectively. We’ll see. Supposed to be 82 tomorrow, then cool and rainy the rest of the week.


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