Monday, December 19, 2016

December's Garden, A GIANT Cover Up (2016)

Winter has arrived.  Early.  So we had to rush out and cover everything sooner than we had planned. Weather is like that.  It never seems to cooperate.  Last year I covered one row and was thrilled with the success.  This year, I decided to go big and purchase the supplies for a larger winter garden.   Everything will be reused for many years so I consider it a good investment.

To form the hoops I purchased two 75 foot rolls of 9 gauge tension wire for about $25.00 each. Both rolls together made 50 hoops. 

This is Reese cutting the wire to make it into hoops. Doesn't he look happy helping me with my chore?  He knows which side his bread is buttered on (literally) and is willing to help in the garden after I nag, and nag, and nag, and...

He then took the wire and bent it into arches since he is so big and strong.  Isn't he looking happier and happier? Or perhaps he is looking colder and colder?  Is he smiling or snarling at me?

The next step was to stick them down into the ground.  I tried helping but kept hitting rocks.  He sighed, shook his head and took the wires out of my hand to finish the job.  That was fine with me.  Someone needed to take pictures.

Next step was to wrap twine around each metal arch to add support between the wires.  The wind blows hard here and I did not want to see it all collapse during a snowstorm.

I searched long and hard for the covering but really did not know what to get so it was a guess.  I followed the advice of the website "Mother of a Hubbard" and contacted:

Deerfield Supplies 
2825 Stringtown Road
Elkton, Kentucky, 42220
Phone: (270) 265-2425

They do not have a website (small country store) so I called and requested a catalog.  Their service was excellent and their prices were good compared to other online companies.  Originally I wanted Gro-Guard 34 Medium Weight, 1 oz per square yard because it received the best reviews. However, the minimum order was 500' for one width which was WAY too much for me. 

They offered another choice DeWitt brand coverings in smaller lengths:

6' x 50'    .5 oz     $6.50
6' x 250'   .5 oz     $25.00
7' x 100'    1 oz     $28.00
7' x 250'    1 oz     $45.00
  6' x 50'     1.5 oz  $14.50

My decision was for the 1oz, 7' x 250' for $45.00. The 100' would have been enough for me but since shipping was about the same for either, (about $20.00) I decided to go ahead and purchase the larger amount.  We have room to store it and even though I don't plan on making my garden bigger next year, I have been known to change my mind.

It arrived quickly and look how LARGE IT IS!  WOW!  SO BIG!  It is taller than Reese.  See Reese SMILE!

It is so HUGE, it almost touches the sky.

And look at this picture!  It was REAL WIDE ALSO!  Oh, what a good deal I got for my money.

Ha! Ha! FOOLED YOU!  Guess it wasn't so big after all!  

Oh no!  Oh no!  PINK STYROFOAM PEANUT packing on a windy day!  Good grief!  Why would anyone do that?  What were these people thinking?  Why put styrofoam peanuts in a box to ship FABRIC?!  How could they be so mean!  I hate people who pull jokes.

An hour later, after chasing peanuts all over the backyard, we finally got back to work.

We purchased landscape pins to hold the fabric down.  There were 75 in a package and sold for about $12.00.

If you hold the staples in your hand and rattle them, they sound like silverware. It will drive the dog crazy thinking you are eating and he will come running to look for the food.  Ha! Ha!

We spray painted them because they will rust and might be lost in the dirt then caught in the tiller blades later.

When you use a can of spray paint, be sure to do it on a windy day while wearing your good coat.  If your mother complains, be sure to reply, "It was a free coat."

Then ignore her and continue painting when she says, "Free to you! Not me!"

This is what they look like if you paint them orange.  You can, of course, pick your own color.  Just make sure the paint is still WET when you pick them up and lean them against your GOOD COAT!

They are used to hold the cloth down.  They seem to work quite well but high winds can jerk them out if there is not enough.

It was so hard rolling out a pristine white and clean roll onto the mud.  It hurt me to watch it get dirty. Reese was not bothered at all.

Reese put each wire hoop about 2 1/2 feet apart and that seemed fine.  Our three rows are about 35' long and we had enough hoops.

If you choose a windy day because there is a storm blowing in that evening, it will be difficult to get the row cover to lay down.  It is best to not wait until the last minute.

The 1 oz cover is lighter weight than what I used last year but it also lets in more light.  I am curious to see how it will work in bitterly cold weather.

Looking out the window at my row covers gives me the same feeling of satisfaction as when I look at the shelves of canning jars full of food in my pantry.  My family will be fed healthy food no matter what the future holds (except for a flood, tornado, wildfire, earthquake or something else).  We are prepared. 


  1. I really needed the chuckles this "adventure" gave me! I hope this is successful.

    1. I plan on following up during the winter with more pictures. We have already had a real strong storm knock the covers off. We got to wade out in the mud to recover everything and use MORE staples with bricks added for weight. It is a learning experience.