Updated: Apr 19
Are you getting impatient for growing your summer crops? You can get started before summer!
Many seeds should be started indoors. Some vegetables should actually be started as early as winter! This is especially important in areas with a short growing season. Start your seeds in a tray before taking them outdoors.
Once you have your plants started, you'll need to move them outside. But what if it's still too cold or your area has sudden, unpredictable frosty nights? Ideally, a greenhouse would be the solution. Especially if you utilize a greenhouse liner. But most people don't have the privilege of owning one or the resources to obtain one. But there are two great options for protecting your new plants by covering them more directly.
Tunnels are easily created by covering wire hoops or PVC pipes with breathable row covers. Products like DIO-Betalon are produced with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), which is very hygroscopic; that is, it attracts moisture. Therefore it absorbs dew and frost, protecting plants from freezing by retaining warmth at night. Because DIO-Betalon is made of natural, transparent PVA, the row cover transmits sufficient light to foster plant growth. Its permeability also allows for plants to be watered through the cover, so there's no need to remove the cover.
The same material used in creating low tunnels can be placed directly over plants if the material is lightweight enough to be classified as floating row covers. Place the material directly on your plants to protect them from frost. Don't forget to give your plants sufficient water through the cover. Summer will be here before we know it, so get started now!