Row covers-how to use & when to remove (help)

tristateJune 1, 2010

I just posted about vine borers and cuke beetles and now know my question shouldn't have been whether they're a problem in our area but how to prevent them.

SOOO, oh wonderful forum participants..

I'm trying to be proactive and keep cucumber beetles and vine borers away this year. I just planted squash (zucchini) seeds yesterday and cucumbers (seeds and seedlings 2 inches tall).

I read that Sevin works but is toxic to honeybees so it won't work b/c we have a bee farm 3 miles down the road. Monteray Garden Spray doesn't work against these pests.

So row covers-and I'm thinking tulle (small holes, cheap, reusable, no heat buildup).

-When do you put them on?

-Should they go on now before seedlings emerge?

-How long do they stay on? (Is there a time when it'll be safe to remove them?)

-Does using them cause ANOTHER problem? (Pollination, slugs etc.)

THANKS A BUNCH for all the advice!

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nygardener(z6 New York)

I'd try growing them first and see if it's a problem. If so, grow the affected veggies in a different part of the garden next year and try row covers then. However, you have to remove the covers in any case once the plants flower in order to allow pollination, so they're not a guaranteed preventive.

Generally, I think you're better off growing things that don't have established pests, and following growing practices that won't invite them in. Chief among these are good drainage, full sun, well-dug beds (for drainage and root room), soil composition (especially amending with compost), not crowding your plants too much (for root room, sun penetration, and air circulation), and weeding.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 6:25AM
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Thanks NY Gardener. I'm doing SOOO much reading that I'm getting "pest hypochondriosis". It's the first really large garden (1200 sq. ft. total expanded onto previous lawn areas) and I'm expanding to crops I've never had before:brocolli, squash,peas. I think both of those things help me because as you noted, I haven't had any established pests before other than japanese beetles attacking my peonies 1/4 acre away on the other side of the house..
And as for your other suggestions- I'm on it. I did come across some literature which suggested good soil and monitoring goes a long way to preventing disease and pests so I'll be vigilant.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 9:41AM
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jayco(5b NY)

Just wanted to say, your bee farm 3 miles away isn't the only reason not to use Sevin on your garden. You'd prevent your own plants from being pollinated. In general with small gardens it isn't usually necessary to use chemical controls, and herbicides and insecticides will often harm beneficial organisms.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 10:51AM
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