It looks like spring is going to pounce on us, with little warning. That means I'll be pushing my luck and moving plants outdoors, with no guarantee the temperature will remain above freezing. Frost happens, even when you least expect it. In the fall, it can be a relief to finally be able to put your garden to bed. In the spring, it can send you into a panic, because you just put your plants out and wish you hadn't.
When that happens, I run around outdoors and throw covers over the plants. I used to use sheets, which work pretty well. They do get heavy when wet and can crush young plants. I eventually bought some row covers. They don't look like much and I wouldn't trust a coat made from them to keep me warm outside, but they are a quick and easy way to extend your growing season by a couple of weeks. Much to my surprise, they really work.
Row Covers, sometimes referred to as Floating Row Covers, are lightweight spun bonded synthetic fabrics that are laid over plants for protection against pests and temperatures. They are light enough to rest on the plants and allow light, water and even fertilizer to get through. In general, they add about 2-4 degrees F. protection. Depending of the weight of the fabric, you could keep your plants growing even when nighttime temps dip down into the mid-20s.
Photo: © Marie Iannotti