The Big Cover-Up

Do you think you’ve got this year’s growing season all figured out? Trust me—you don’t. Because, just when you least expect it, Mother Nature can turn down the thermostat and send the north winds blowing. And, if you’re not Johnny-on-the-spot, all your hard work can go right down the drain. The simplest way to protect your harvest is to buy floating row covers and toss them over your plants at the first sign of frost. Besides keeping out chilly breezes, they fend off pests. But there are plenty of other ways to do both those things, and for much less money.

Old nylon net curtains. Use them exactly as you would commercial row covers. Then, when they’ve accomplished their mission, run them through the washing machine and store them away until you need them again.

Plastic milk cartons with the bottoms cut off. Put one over each tender plant, and push it a couple of inches into the ground so it doesn’t blow away in the wind.

Panty hose. Just cut off a leg and slip it over a baby plant, enclosing it at the foot end. Then tie the bottom tight.

Newspaper. Make a tent and set it over your plants. Fold out the bottom edges and weight them down with rocks so the sheet doesn’t blow away.