Skip to content

Row cover everywhere

Row cover on spring transplants

It was impossible to capture all the floating row cover outposts scattered around the feel in just one shot. This pic shows maybe a third of the area under the light, white, spunbond polyester protection. Right now, it’s being used as protection from two separate things: frost and bugs. Let’s see, it’s on all the cucurbits (so far, that’s cucumber, summer and winter squash, and pumpkin) to protect from the cold and striped cucumber beetles, on tomatoes against cold (and coming off in a few days), on the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, and the like) against ravaging flea beetles but not the cold (coming off when the plants are fairly big and can withstand the FBs). I’ve used row cover from Year 1, far as I can remember (there are NOTES and even pics…somewhere). Initially, I really didn’t like it, it looked so…unearthy, synthetic,…not part of the garden. BUT, the alternatives, like planting later, ending harvest earlier in fall, temporary wind breaks and cold air channels, trap crops, and all sorts of complex interplanting (so one crop protects another), encouraging beneficial insects, more elaborate timing (basically, closer second guessing of insect cycles and the weather), not to mention a completely adapted, semi-permaculture set-up where everything is at home no matter what, were all way out of what I could handle as I dove into tiny farming with the intention of heading to the farmers’ market in the first season. Floating row cover lets me extend the season by at least a couple of weeks at each and, and I can avoid all pesticides (and there are some killer insecticides allowed even in certified organics) and a lot of bug grief (stemming from lots of LOSS). I still don’t really LIKE row cover, though, the way I like, say, my Sneeboer three-tine cultivator or even the Horse rototiller (I can understand how the Horse is built, get if fixed, or do without). More and more lately, I wonder when FRC will become insanely expensive, or real scarce, or just plain run out… It’s as oil-based as they come, and kind of in a high tech product class of its own. This year, in a small fit of…paranoia (?), I actually ordered a new 1,000’x14′ (300mx4.3m) roll, even though I have enough for this season at least. It’s not much of a stockpile, but, carefully managed, it could get me through 3-4 more years along with what’s on hand, at this tiny farming scale… Oh, well, the more you know, the less you need is what I believe. I’m learning as I go. Keep farming long enough, and I’m sure I’ll get beyond the cover if it doesn’t run out on me first…! :)



  1. I’m with you, I don’t like FRC (I loathe the way it catches on my rough fingers *shudder*), and I find it aesthetically unappealing, but it works, especially again my nemesis, the cabbage worm.

  2. AniaB.

    Where is the best place to buy FRC in Ont?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.