image: harvest of tomatoes

Dry - Warm - Cool - Pest-free - Productive - Practical ... All Are Possible

image: canned tomato sauce
To dry, to warm, to cool, to protect.

There's a cover for that.


Anytime we need to dry a bed for planting, we cover it with black plastic. In the fall, when we've cleared a bed, composted it, we put it to sleep under plastic to ward off weeds and to prevent winter-leaching of nutrients.

image: raised beds covered in black plastic over hoops image: raised bed with black plastic laid inside, weighted down with bricks, fending off rain

To create a warm-enough climate in early spring, and again in the fall, we cover growing beds with clear plastic greenhouse film.

image: a newly planted raised bed image: the raised bed covered with clear plastic image: the raised bed with the cover removed, lettuces growing

In order for peas to mature before fall's hard frosts, we must plant peas by August 1st. To cool the soil, to foster germination, we plant, mulch and cover the bed with shade cloth.

image: raised bed covered with aluminet shade cloth image: inside the shaded bed - peas are germinating

image: a mulched and shaded bed a shade-clothed bed being watered by hand image: peas growing in the uncovered raised bed

To protect beans and potatoes from beetles, cabbages from moths, squash from their particular bugs, arugula and eggplant from flea beetles, we cover beds with lightweight, fabric row cover, removing the protection when plants are tough enough to stand some damage, or when it's time for pollination. Organic gardening has never been so easy.

image: raised bed covered with pest barrier fabric image: bug-free potatoes growing underneath the pest barrier fabric

Eliot Coleman's newest publication, The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses details practices easily adaptable to the deep raised bed turned mini-greenhouse. Year-round vegetable gardening isn't limited to coastal California!


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