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Pest Control #1: Row Covers:
Row covers work great to protect your crops from a wide variety of pests, including: cabbageworms, flea beetles, squash bugs, potato beetles, root maggots, leaf miners, cucumber beetles, army worms, grasshoppers, squash vine borers, deer, rabbits, & birds.
In many organic gardeners’ storage sheds lurk what look like stashes of dirty bed linens. These are actually sheets of reusable fabric row covers, which serve as barriers between plants & those creatures that would destroy them. Without ever picking up a sprayer, you can use row covers to eliminate problem insects, & prevent browsing by rabbits and deer, too.
When combined with a weed-suppressing mulch- such as straw or grass clippings spread over wet newspapers– row covers often increase yields of peppers, strawberries & cucumber-family crops by more than a third.
Unlike plastic, which blocks rain & quickly heats up in the sun, the zillions of tiny holes in fabric row covers let rain in and heat out. Perforated plastic row covers do vent out hot air through thousands of holes or slits, but they are much less durable than breathable fabric row covers, which can be reused for several years and serve multiple purposes. With fabric row covers in place over your spring salad patch, you can stop worrying about biting winds & hungry rabbits. In summer, you can sleep easy knowing your melons are safe from four- and six-legged saboteurs that sneak in at night.
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