Despite the unpredictable temperatures of the midwest, and the short school calendar, your students could be eating broccoli, cabbage, collards and kale from their schoolyard garden before the end of the school year!
But how? Row cover is a friend to the schoolyard garden. It not only insulates your veggies when temperatures drop, but it also keeps pests out of the garden. You can either drape and stake row cover over your newly-planted transplants, or use one of our row cover frames, designed specifically for schoolyard gardens. The frames are 4 feet by 4 feet, 20 inches tall and lightweight, which allows students to easily move and place them throughout the garden.
If your school is interested in row cover for the garden, get in touch with your KCCG schoolyard garden contact!
Cold weather insulation use:
Cover new transplants with row cover, but do not cover newly planted seeds. Water permeates the row cover, so you can keep the plants covered from the first day of planting until they are ready to harvest! You can check on your plants by lifting up the light-weight frame. For more protection from cold temperatures, mulch your transplants with a thick layer of straw. In the schoolyard garden, plants like broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard greens and snap peas are good to cover early in the spring and late in the fall to extend the growing season. This will help the plants stay warmer, so that they are ready to harvest by the end of the school year, and so that they can continue growing into the fall and winter.
Pest prevention use:
In addition to insulation, row cover can also protect your veggies from garden pests. Select the plants vulnerable to the pest you are trying to prevent. Often, you will need to cover these plants overnight and in low light conditions when the pests are most active, in spring and early summer. Pests are active at different times of the growing season so make sure to do your research on the specific pest you are trying to prevent. It is also important to remember that covering plants will help prevent many pests but not all. So keep a close eye on your vegetables!
Row cover does prevent your plants from direct sunlight access. Because of this, we recommend not placing row cover over seeds or seedlings 4″ or smaller.
Check on your plants underneath the row cover often! The light-weight frames make it easy to take the covers on and off. Be sure to remove the row cover to weed and water often. Because they are light and easy to maneuver, wind can be an issue. If there is a bad weather or high winds in the forecast it is worth it to stake the frames into the ground.