sammy zone 7 TulsaMay 4, 2013

Could you explain how you have covered your vegetables, and how much protection you have?

I have two rows of large pots - 5 pots long and side by side. They are all about 5 feet apart.

I put small pots over some of the smaller tomatoes, and a beach towel over that. On the taller ones I just put a beach towel.

Around my pots is a circle of 5 or 6 foot concrete wire.

When I saw your structure, I wondered how many degrees protection I could have gotten if I had used just that fabric, or the fabric with the pots and towels.

If the weather gets to about 32, what do you think it is inside your structure? It all looks so neat and organized.


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Sammy, The bows are 10 foot sections of 1/2 inch electrical conduit (EMT) bent into bows that are four feet wide at the bottom then just pushed into the ground. They could be bent at 6 feet if you didn't require the height. I bought the conduit at Lowes for less than $2 each, item #72711.

I am using Agribon AG-19 in 10 foot width because it covers the hoop and gives me room to secure it at the bottom. The amount of fabric at the bottom depends on how deep the hoops are inserted into the ground. There are several weights of Agribon, and this one is for light frost protection but it doesn't reduce the light very much so I also use it for insect protection. There are plenty of choices and much heavier weights if it is only for frost protection and will be removed soon.

I bought my row cover at Johnny's and the freight cost was high, but even with freight it was cheaper than what I found elsewhere because I bought 10' by 500'. I had used the narrower one before, but 10 feet best meets my needs and most of my beds are planted at 4 foot width. I have some raised beds, but mostly plant in the ground.

Here is the link so you can see the other weights and the frost info.

I bought my hoop bender at Lost Creek and they are in Texas. I think they are now $50. It is possible to build your own, and I think there is a picture on the forum somewhere where Chandra built his out of wood. I bought mine a few years ago and it is just mounted on a storage building so we can bend when we need to. Al bent the 5 extra that I needed in less than 30 minutes when the cold was coming.

For any kind of long term cover, the hoops should be about 4 feel apart. Because this was only temporary, and had cattle panels on each side, I just used 3 in the 16 foot space but it sagged some with the wind and rain.

The row cover is thin and will get holes in it, but I can usually get 3 years out of it, then I still keep it because I sometimes have a poly covered low tunnel and I just lay the row cover on top of the plants, inside the tunnel, if the weather gets extra cold. Dawn said she mends hers with tape. I haven't done that, but I do re-purpose it so I can keep using it.

You could not just lay it on roses because the thorns would be a problem when you tried to remove it, but you could suspend it like mine is done and for other plants you could just cover them.

I used some old row cover over a bed of onions and peas, and it worked perfectly while the wet sheets pressed things down way too much.

I have been amazed at how much row cover helps. A couple of years ago I had some hot pepper plants that were covered with peppers when the Fall temperatures started dropping. Most of my garden was already gone so I just built a fence around the pepper bed with the tomato cages that were no longer in use and wrapped row cover around the entire thing. I had a small piece of old greenhouse plastic that was big enough to cover the top so I just pinned it to the tops of the cages and it covered the entire pepper bed. It was ugly and the row cover was old and had some holes, but it provided enough protection to keep those plants growing until after Thanksgiving when the real cold weather came. I think protection from the wind makes a big difference.

It isn't a cheap solution but how much is it worth to save a planting that you have already invested time and money in. Gardening is rather a hobby and a passion for me in addition to providing delicious food, so for me it is worth the cost.

Last year when the weather was HOT, I took 3/4 inch conduit and pushed it into the ground as legs for the hoops. I pushed the hoops into the top of the conduit and put row cover on the top to reduce the effect of the mid day sun on my pepper plants. Al said each morning when he sat up on the side of the bed, he thought a covered wagon was going by. Larry said, AL probably grabbed his plate to go get his beans off of the chuckwagon. LOL

Just ask if you need more info. Carol

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:02PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa


What a wealth of information! I am afraid that I need to look up some of the terms, since i just don't know that much about gardening.

My roses are not as much of a problem as the tall tomatoes. However, it seems to me that what you have could also be used as a shield from the hot sun.

Thank you so much for suck a detailed response.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:48PM
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You're welcome. Happy to help.

This post was edited by soonergrandmom on Sat, May 4, 13 at 16:15

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Oops, I didn't order my row cover form Johnny's, I ordered the greenhouse poly from Johnny's and the row cover from another place and I can't remember the name right now. I can look it up though if you want me to.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:54AM
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