Dry - Warm - Cool - Pest-free - Productive - Practical ... All Are Possible
PEST CONTROL MADE EASY, EASY, EASY
Summer-weight insect barrier fabric fastened to the hoops of the raised bed reduces or eliminates the need for pesticides. Easily cut with scissors, it can be folded for storage and reused.
KEEPING IT PEST-FREE
Row cover. Insect barrier. What a find! Imagine ... eggplant leaves without the shot-hole damage from the flea beetle, the undersides of potato and bean leaves uninfested, cabbage leaves un-chewed ...
These lightweight polyester fabrics allow 90 - 95% light transmission without heat buildup underneath, and are porous to air movement and water. (There's no need to remove the covers when it rains.) The material is UV stabilized, and won't deteriorate quickly. It's use prevents damage from flea beetles, thrips, aphids, cabbage moths, cucumber beetles, potato beetles, bean beetles and more.
These fabrics can be laid right over the plants, but after a rain the fabric does tend to stick to the leaves and needs to be lifted and resituated. We prefer to drape the fabric over the hoops of the raised beds and carefully secure it with the snap clamps.There's a learning curve - how much slack to leave so a hard rain or wind won't tear holes in the clamped fabric - but a little trial and error takes care of that concern.
|In a heavier weight, fabric row cover can protect plants from light frost, an interim material to use before one switches to plastic greenhouse film.
We purchased a large roll of Agribon AG-15 Insect Barrier - 118" x 250' - from Johnny's Selected Seeds that has lasted us for years.
It's wide enough to drape over the hoops and drop well below the top of the raised beds for easy securing and maximum protection. Once unusual, row cover is now readily available online. Gardener's Supply sells it in several weights, as does DripWorks. Many seed suppliers, as well as Lowes and Home Depot and local gardening centers, carry shorter lengths for the home garden.
Some gardening research is necessary to allow for pollination. Some vegetables are self-fertile (eggplant, beans, peppers) but some need bees or other mobile insects or the wind. Timing the placement of the row cover is key, but the covers may be applied to emerging and young plants, giving them time to mature before being open to the elements and thus less susecptible to inevitable pest damage.
Pests can be further controlled by companion planting – the strategic interspersing of certain herbs, flowers or vegetables with others. More about that on the next page.
See also Article Four: Gardening Made Easier and More Productive.
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