Garden fleece is a great helper in the vegetable garden. They have loads of benefits and uses!
I am not a very gadget or tool orientated gardener. A good pair of
secateurs, a trowel, and a rake is what we mostly need. The shovel and
spade are not coming out of the shed too often since we have a no-dig
The one thing though that I don't want to miss in my vegetable garden and that I find very useful is crop protection fleece also called floating row cover. These lightweight fabrics are placed either right on top of the crop or seed bed or are held up by hoops.
The fleece is water and light permeable and creates a microclimate that helps to mature plants faster. The temperature under the fleece is more even i.e. it doesn't cool down as much at night which is very helpful for the early or late sowings in the veggie garden.
Since we use crop protection cover we have a much higher success rate for example with growing carrots. The carrot seeds are quite slow to germinate and seem to be tiny for ages! Hungry blackbirds scratching in our beds for juicy worms make a mess of everything including the small seedlings in no time. The fabric stops the birds and later on also protects from the carrot fly.
Another crop that is greatly helped by the fleece are early potatoes. We
plant them around mid-March outside with a cover of mulch and the row
cover lying on top. The potatoes come up much faster and are protected
from late frosts. The foliage stays very healthy under the fleece and we
always have a great crop! You just have to make sure the fabric isn't
too tight once the foliage starts growing tall.
You can also use a row cover inside glasshouses or tunnels during the winter. It adds an extra layer of protection for the cold nights when temperatures drop below freezing even inside.
You can buy different qualities of row covers. The lighter ones will only last for one season outside. These are fine if you want to use them inside a greenhouse. For outside I would strongly recommend spending the money on the better qualities that will last for several seasons. They should be UV stabilized and resist tearing.
Hold the fleece down with stones, bricks or sand bags. You will have to loosen the fabric as the plants grow.
Garden Cress indoors is one of the simplest things to grow. Grow cress on your window sill during the winter and boost your immune system with lots of Vitamin C from this easy to grow culinary herb!
Check out the November 2017 issue of the 'Homestead Gardener' Digital Magazine for organic gardening tips, permaculture and self-sufficiency.
Are organic pesticides truly harmless for your garden ecosystem? When should you use organic pest sprays to avoid killing pollinators and beneficial insects.