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Video:How to Use a Protective Garden Cover

with Debbie Dalrymple

Learn how to protect your garden from the heat, cold, hail, and animals using a simple and inexpensive cover.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Use a Protective Garden Cover

Hi, I'm Debbie Dalrymple with Farm Yard CSA for About.com Garden. Today we're going to talk about some techniques for covering your plants to protect them from weather, critters, etc.

Row Covers for Gardens

We're going to start by talking about using a simple row cover. A row cover is something like a piece of cloth, but you could use something as simple as maybe a sheet. We're going to build hoops out of just a simple PVC pipe. You can buy wire hoops, but this is a little more economical. You can build your own, and you can make them the length you need for the area that you're going to cover.

We're going to measure a piece of pipe that's long enough to cover the width of our bed and raise it to the height that we're looking for, keeping in mind how tall the plants are going to grow during the time we have them covered.

Then we'll take something like some short pieces of rebar or even cut some sticks, which is what we're going to do to use a really cost-effective method. We're going to then stick the PVC pipes over the sticks that we've driven into the ground creating a hoop over the area that we're covering.

Once we have these hoops in place, we can use a couple of different materials to cover them depending on what our goal is. If our main goal is to protect from heat, we'll use something like a light cloth that will keep the direct sun from reaching the plants.

Why Protect a Garden With Covers?

Here is an example of two beds of lettuce, one of which we covered just for an experiment. You can see while one is completely wilted, the other one is completely protected and it's not even noon yet.

The same way it protects from the heat, it also protects from the cold. So we can use the same material throughout the season.

If our goal is to protect from things like critters, we may want to use something like this piece of screen. We'll use this screen to cover the same hoops, but now they're a little bit more sturdy, and they can protect from things like critters that might be running around your garden.

Additionally, if you use a fine enough screen, it can protect from hail. So this will protect your plants from being damaged in the event that you have hail in your area. So using a screen will protect from the critters. Using a cloth will protect from the weather.

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