Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011

Man, my blog schedule is filling up. Must be Spring! But I wanted to get this post out there, so it'll offset the coop construction posts.

I was out the the garden the other day, taking my tomatoes for their walk and checking on the rest of the garden.  What I found was my spinach bed was sprouting like mad. 

I've been reading my garden buddy's blogs and found many using row covers for their spinach to keep the leaf miner flies away.  I've had issues every year with leaf miners, so I figured I'd give it a try.  I saw them with their fancy mesh covers and thought... "I've got something like that."  Sure enough, I'd saved the mesh covers from our recent couch purchase for gardening.  They tear easily, but I found a small one that was in good shape.  So, I threw it over the bed and weighed it down with some scrap 2x2s my kids were playing with and left all over my garden.

That was all fine and good for a few days, but when it rained, the mesh would be plastered to the ground. That couldn't be good for the poor little seedlings.  So I had an idea.  I could use some of those scrap 2x2s to raise the row cover!  I just leaned them up against the side of the bed, sort of wedged between the bed and the hoop cover stands.

It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, but I manged to wrangle the row cover over the bed, held up by the 2x2s.  It doesn't have to hold up to a Fall wind storm, and it's very temporary, so I don't care if it looks good.  As you're likely well aware by now, I'm a function over fashion kind of guy.

Since this time, I've thought about maybe throwing my hoops up and draping it over them.   I'd probably need one of the bigger covers for that.  Of course, this is only temporary, RIGHT?!

How long does this need to be up?  Watering's a pain, but not nearly as painful as destroying ruined spinach! If it needs to be up for a long time, I'll definitely get the hoops out and make something more user-friendly.


Enjoy your garden!


  1. I don't know about how long it needs to be up, but what about using some kind of "low hoop" under the fabric you have?... just enough so rain doesn't accumulate on the top ... check out Johnny's Select Seeds to see what they look like. I saw some on Laura's blog that she made out of wire fencing and have done the same ... they work great! Bet you have some leftover wire from the chicken coop you could use ....

  2. I'm so excited to find your blog. I also have a garden, but much more modest than what you're doing. My spinach also seems to be sprouting, but my lettuce section is bare. I could not get lettuce to grow last year either and that is what I'd like to grow the most. :( So disappointing.

    We're also considering getting a few chickens so I"m looking forward to following along on your journey!

  3. Whatever it takes to keep those little beasts out of your leaves. We have the same problem with our Swiss chard but I have yet to try using those floating row covers. At least your spinach likes the cooler temperatures.:)

  4. I don't think leaf miner ever gives up... unfortunately! Hate those little things.

  5. Good thinking reusing the light fabric! I would put the hoops up because to work, the row cover must be up as long as the plants are growing and intended to be harvested from (now or in the future).

  6. Well spinach usually takes a month to grow up and get big. Then they bolt. For us the leaf miners come in waves over the spring and summer, but I've never timed between the waves. I just notice when I take eggs off the chard that I get them for a while then they disappear for a while. Then they come back. I've always been happy for the times I don't have to check the chard every other day.

  7. The hoops will give you more air volume so hopefully this will not allow the plants to get too hot and bolt.

  8. And we're heading towards winter here down under :(

  9. Hi Rich!

    Glad to see your spinach is germinating. My carrots seeds just started germinating so I think the soil, even in our terribly dreary weather, is finally hitting the point when the cool weather crops can get going. Everything just seems so behind this year.