This winter has been unusually mild in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area. Temperatures have remained high enough to encourage fall vegetables, while only occasionally dropping below the 30’s. Harvest Guard protective yard cover has proven to be very adequate protection for the fall crops when the weather dips into the high 20s overnight.
This fall, we planted salad greens and onion sets in two 4′ x 4′ sections of a 4′ x 12′ raised bed. (See my review of Greene’s Cedar Raised Bed.) This unusual weather has extended the season considerably. However, on several evenings, the temperature has dropped into the high 20s. Initially, I covered the plants with old sheets on the coldest nights. While this protected the plants from the freezing temperature and winds, the sheets did not allow the rain to flow through easily and blocked the sunlight. When the sheets were removed, they were muddy and needed to washed before storage.
I decided to find a less high-maintenance solution and purchased the Gardeneer by Dalen Harvest Guard Protective Yard and Garden Cover in the 10′ by 15′ size at Blackhawk hardware to cover the 4′ x 12′ bed. The sheet was easily secured with 6 clips from Home Depot.
The instructions for the Harvest Guard cover states that a single layer will protect against temperatures down to 29 degrees, while a double layer protects against temperatures down to 26 degrees. However, in my garden a single layer of Harvest Guard provided adequate protection against lows of 27 and 28 degrees last week. The rain flows freely through the fabric to the plants, so no additional watering has been needed. The plants continue to grow under the cover and seem to get plenty of sunlight through the cover.
The Romaine and Butterhead lettuce, arugula and onions continue to grow under the cover with no evidence of damage from the cold. I only remove enought of the cover to harvest the salad greens, then cover the vegetables up again. While I don’t expect this light cover to provide protection when the temperatures go down significantly over the winter, I am pleased with the results and am planning on using this again in the spring.
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