It may be fall on the calendar, but those voracious grasshoppers think it’s still summertime, and they’re eating everything we plant. The row cover is the only thing saving our fall veg.
Amanda figured out that none of the fall veg need pollination, so we are free to erect a barrier keeping out all insects. Also: our sunn hemp scare, where to expand the orchard and what we hope to plant in it, we opted for the plan that requires the most work.
Here are the hoops of the row cover in place. We used 3/8 rebar that the folks at Tallassee True Value cut into 18″ lengths for us. Not in the picture is the string I used to center the hoops. I started with a t-post at each end of the row cover, exactly in the middle of the 48″ row. A string between the two t-posts marked the center of the row. Then I used a template cut from a 1 x 4 that had holes in each end exactly 48″ apart and a line drawn across the middle. I lined up the middle of the template under the string (harder than you would think) and then used the holes in the template to hammer in the rebar. The rebar went into the ground surprisingly easily.
I wanted the hoops 48″ apart, so I just rotated the template in a 90 degree angle (across the row to set the width, and then down the row to set the distance between hoops).
I cut 1/2″ PVC pipe into three equal length segments per 20′ pipe, meaning each segment was about 6’7″ long. I fit one end of the PVC segment over each 3/8″ rebar to form the hoops. As you look down the line, it looks like a couple of the hoops are longer than the others, but it’s really because the terrain is higher at that point. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
The row cover fabric is Agribon+ AG-15. We thought it likely we would be doing more of this in the future, so we sprang for the 1500′ roll. Cost with shipping was $215 from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
We opted to use firewood (cheapest thing we could find) to hold it down. It works fine, but the fabric is easily snagged, so we have to be very careful when we remove it for any reason.