We use row cover, a.k.a. low tunnels, to protect seeds and seedlings while they mature and gain strength. Garden fabric like this holds in moisture, protects against too much heat or cold, and keeps out insects who would eat the little plants. We uncover greens when they’re mature enough for gardeners to harvest. We uncover squash and cucumbers to allow pollinators to reach them.
A gardener plants honeynut squash seed and waters it in. Then the rows are covered while the seeds germinate.
When pollinators are ready to have their way with the pattypan squash and yellow summer squash on the left and the Ananda Gardens cucumber seedlings on the right, under the tented trellis, gardeners will remove the row cover.
Even the largest beds of just-planted winter squash seed get blanketed. As the seedlings grow, we’ll add thin metal hoops under the fabric to make low tunnels for the plants to expand under.