Row Covers for Pest Control
What do you think of when you envision garden pests? Certain insects, birds, and deer perhaps? How about cute little bunnies? They look so sweet hopping through yards, and my dog goes crazy over them. But when they start eating my basil, it’s time to get some row covers.
We moved last year from a neighborhood that had an abundance of rats and cockroaches. I don’t miss them. We entered a neighborhood that has squirrels, rabbits, and huge grasshoppers. I’m not loving the grasshoppers, but they are definitely better than cockroaches.
Anyways, if rabbits are getting at your leafy greens or if you need to keep out certain insects, row covers are your new best friend.
Why Use Row Covers?
Row covers do a couple of things. First, they keep out unwanted pests such as insects, rabbits, or birds. They literally provide a barrier between the plant and the pest.
Second, when sheer row covers are used, they allow water and rain to come through as well as diffused light. The diffused light can be very important for plants such as lettuce and spinach and other delicate greens. They are especially useful in the heat of the day or as the summer gets hotter.
How To Use Row Covers
I ordered my row covers online; you can order them or buy them at a gardening center. Be sure to get the sheer fabric kind that allows water and light to come through. Plastic row covers serve a different purpose.
For a raised bed, you will need some flexible PVC pipe. I had leftover PVC pipe from my previous garden. It is 1/2″ in diameter (across the opening) and had been cut into sections about four feet long. The length of your sections will depend on the width of your garden. My garden beds are two feet wide.
Some gardeners use shorter sections of PVC to insert into the sides of their beds in order to anchor the pipe into place. I found that my soil was deep enough and the frame rigid enough that I could easily insert the pipe ends directly into the soil. It literally took me two minutes to put four sections of PVC pipe along the length of one of my beds.
After the pipe was in place and spaced out evenly, I then covered the hoops with sheer fabric row cover. I cut it to the necessary length after spreading it out. I then secured it along the edges with stones.
Voila! My plants were now safe.
I had two other basil plants in the same bed as the potatoes. While I could have covered the entire bed, it wasn’t necessary, so I opted instead to use tomato cages and row covers. I fitted the tomato cages around the basil, cut the row cover fabric to fit, and secured it with rocks.
My vulnerable plants are now thriving (except for that poor basil that was nibbled to the stems…that had to be replaced) and I can feel secure knowing that they are safe from pests.
Did you find this helpful? Do you plan to put it into action? I would love to know in the comments below.
Take care, and until next time,