Floating Row Covers? Let’s Learn How!

I just uploaded a new video documenting how to make and install floating row covers.

Supplies you will need:

  • Rebar – 3/8″ x 10′, cut into 5 – 2′ lengths
  • Electrical PVC – 1/2″ diameter pipe x 9′
  • Floating Row Cover fabric
  • Angle Cutter or equivalent for cutting lengths of rebar
  • Hack Saw or PVC Pipe Cutter
  • Gloves and Safety Glasses

Low tunnels using floating row covers is of great benefit  for several reasons.

  • Floating row cover is a light weight, breathable fabric that allows air, moisture and sunlight to pass through the material.
    • There are various fabric weights to meet different needs.
      • Agribon 15 is lightweight fabric that is used for insect protection and shading.
      • Agribon 50 is a heavy cloth used for freeze and frost protection. This cloth will protect a crop down to 26° (F)
  • Insect protection – when properly sealed, insects cannot penetrate the covering which protects the crop from damage and disease.
    • Problem insects such as Japanese beetle, squash bugs, squash vine borer, cucumber beetles and flea beetles are blocked from doing their usual mayhem.
  • Isolation chambers – Low tunnels are ideal for seed saving of crops such as squash, pumpkin, melons and watermelons. Bumble bee hives may be inserted at one end of the enclosure to insure proper pollination. Plus, there is not a chance of cross pollination. You may grow several varieties side by side. That is a huge advantage.
  • Season extension – row covers placed over a crop will allow for early planting by trapping 2° – 8° (F) higher temperature. Likewise using a row cover late in the season will protect the crop from early frost. By using this method you can easily extend your growing season by one month!!!!
  • Hoop houses, high tunnels and greenhouses – row cover gives added protection and benefits the grower with lower fuel costs. The insulatory value of the row cover will block some of radiant cold that may damage a crop.

This is another method and tool for your gardening arsenal!!!


4 thoughts on “Floating Row Covers? Let’s Learn How!

    1. Thank you for visiting papasgardens. My raised beds are 4 feet wide. I need to change the length of the electrical PVC to 9 feet. This length will give a good overlap for the floating row cover.


  1. Hello. Thank you for this informative post! I have a couple questions(withback story) I planted my tomatoes and peppers “way too early” this year but had okay luck using tarps and whatever I could find as frames, The article it says I could possibly get 2-8 °F higher under a row. cover, would that be enough. to protect my plants again. next year? Or would tarps. help?(for nights only) I am. growing in raised rows not. raised beds. My second question is, in your opinion do you think a hoopstyle greenhouse would be sufficient for starting a month early or would it be easier to use row covers? I live at 2800 ft in north Idaho. Thank you again for your post.
    Momma Bear


    1. Thank you for contacting Papas Gardens! #1 If you use the heavier gauge row cover (Agribon 50), you may retain up 8° (F) more heat. Plus, I would use black plastic to heat the soil. Tarps do not breath. Ant part of the plant that touches the tarp may get burned by radiating cold!! #2 I have a high tunnel with raised beds and low tunnels inside to moderate the cold. There are many options to consider. I am still experimenting. I suggest you read a fantastic book by Eliot Coleman called “The Winter Harvest Handbook”. He has many You Tube videos as well. Here is a man who is growing in mid Maine without additional heat. Amazing!! Check it out!


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