Floating row cover is made out of spun-bonded polyester or polypropylene and is a lightweight, non-woven white colored fabric. It looks like interfacing material, which is used in sewing with a gauze-like appearance. Gardeners and vegetable farmers make use of it in protecting their plants – individual rows or groups by pinning it to ground with bricks, stones, sandbags, soil or sod pins. This hail protection netting stays on top of the crop and while growing it pushes the cover if adequate slack is given. Likewise, it can also be used to cover plants by stretching it over erected frame. It allows sunlight, air, and water to pass through it.
Usage of floating row
- It can be used to protect against frost in fall or during the spring because of the increased temperature beneath the cover.
- Assists growth in plants during the spring and fall because of humidity and increased temperature provided by it.
- Protects the plants by shielding and protecting them from being eaten up by birds, deer, rabbits, insects, and groundhogs.
- It is relatively cheaper and available at 2.5 to 4 cents/square feet and has a lifespan of three years.
Which type of net to purchase?
This cover comes in different widths, weights, and lengths:
- Lightweight hail protection netting or “insect barriers”, comes in around 0.5 oz/square. Yard. It offers protection against frost up to 2º–6 ºF and has 90 to 95 percent light conduction. It can be used with crops like beet, beans, green salad etc. from the period of seeding to harvesting.
- Heavy-Weight covers have 50-70 percent light conduction and protect against frost up to 4º to 10ºF. It is around 1.5 to 2.2 oz./sq. Yard
How to use hail protection netting
It can be used as shelter by directly putting them over plants by holding it to the ground through rocks, pins or other materials.
Have enough slack while covering to allow the plant to push it upwards. This works perfectly for plants on single rows such as broccoli or wide rows and beds such as lettuce, spinach, and Asian greens.
In order to support tomato, pepper, and eggplants, assemble and construct a frame made up of wood, PVC pipe with number 9 wire to support the hail protection netting
Category 1 – Eggplant, tomato, and pepper
These plants grow right out of the soil upwards and need an edge to raise. You need to cover these warm season crops the moment they are transplanted. Remove it when the flowering process starts. You can also directly cover the row by putting it on top of the plants on the frame. In doing so leave a little slackness, so that plants while growing can push its way upwards. Remove the cover when your tomato plants require caging or staking. Row covers protect the plants during spring from being damaged by cutworms, flea beetles, potato beetle, and aphids.
Category 2 – Spinach, lettuce, radish, snap bean, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, Asian greens, carrot
These cool season crops should be left cover with the row cover between March, May, and mid-September. You can use row cover on salad green by planting through harvest. These covers increase the productivity and growth of plants. It also protects against rabbits, harlequin bug, aphids, cabbageworm, and Mexican bean beetle.
Category 3 – Pole bean, potato, beet, Swiss chard, Kale, mustard
Row cover gives these crops a solid start and provides protection against frost and various insect. Therefore, cover them as soon as you plant or transplant them. On tall crops, the use of row cover can be quite difficult. Moreover, many of these crops develop in the hottest part of their growing season so it is important to remove the cover by mid-June to avoid building up of heat and disease problems.
Category 4 – Strawberry
For the plant to be able to pollinate and yield fruits, the cover should be removed once the flowering starts. It speeds up growth in the spring and covering the plant late through fall in bloom time, protects the plant from damage due to winter.
Maintenance – Weed, water, and harvest
Be ready to remove the cover to pluck and hand pull the weed since it grows very fast under the cover. Nevertheless, you can lay organic mulch before putting the cover. You can just pull the cover back for watering and then place it back to protect the plants. Mice will nest in the cover if it’s stored in a shed, barn or garage, therefore, store in indoors in a plastic bag or a container.