Yardsmart: Row covers make tough growing in changing climates easy

April 13, 2015 4:10 PM

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A changing climate challenges every gardener to rethink the way we grow vegetable gardens. Everywhere the extremes of the growing season are hotter, colder, wetter and drier, and nature is responding in ways we never anticipated. Bugs don't die and their eggs or pupae live into a second year to infest plants. Abnormal cold late in spring or early in fall shorten the growing seasons so some crops can't mature fully. Drought stresses plants so much their normal resistance to heat, pests and disease is diminished. Only one thing is for sure: Unpredictability is the new normal.

Organic market gardeners who can't afford to lose their crops drove development of problem-solving fabrics called row covers. These materials allow rain and air to pass through but keep everything else out. They sit upon hoops over vegetable rows to create temporary Quonset hut-shaped affordable gre...

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