How to Make Your Own Row Cover

Today, while I was walking, realized I can make my own row cover by sewing together used dryer sheets. This is very simple. They are a similar thickness. I tried covering 2 squash sprouts this past spring; both plants produced vegetables later on along with a few fruit plants at home (cantaloupe, watermelon and zucchini). I have gotten no zucchini this year, but I do have one watermelon. Next year, I may try seeding earlier because this could help.

In order to make your own row cover, sew dryer sheets together in rows and then sew the rows together. I tried sewing a large square all at once so that I could create a double layer of dryer sheets to try to protect against frost; but this took a lot of time and may not be necessary. If you want a double layer, you may have enough dryer sheets from your laundry that you can sew two sheets, or wrap one sheet around a cage twice.

I’ve been told it looks like ghost… if nothing else, it is appropriate fall decor.

Food for the Foreseeable Future

One way to provide food for your family for the foreseeable future is to save seeds when you grow at home. Some plants, such as lettuce, will self-seed; it is easy to harvest these seeds. You need to place a bag over the blooms to harvest seeds. This is really only suggested though, for plants that self-pollinate and do not produce male and female blooms. It is also recommended that two varieties are not grown too close together so that your heirloom seeds will not be contaminated with pollen from other kinds of vegetables (i.e. no cross-pollination between Best Boy Tomatoes and Beefsteak Tomatoes or between grape and pear tomatoes). Cross-pollination like this can encourage plant disease like blossom drop.

Plan early and place Ziploc bags over your blooms if you would like to harvest your seeds. You can easily remove the bag for a while each day or each time you visit your garden to give the bees some time to visit. Personally, I’ve found that row covers help with this also, but it isn’t as reliable as Ziploc bags over each bloom.

If you’ve never thought about saving your seeds before, now is as good a time as any to start. Time in the garden producing food can be especially important as our nation faces coronavirus; a battle with no real end in site. Even with a vaccine, we will not know how effective it really is for a while. In the meantime, producing food at home can be both productive and very positive.

It is something possible for everyone, including people with disabilities, the elderly and parents with kids. You can track how quickly plants grow, or conduct science experiments by comparing how well starts grow in different soils – i.e. a plant in the shade vs. a plant in the bright sun. This can vary depending on the plant. Some plants (i.e. spider plants & aloe vera) can prefer shade/indoor climates.

Now is the time to think about amending your soil…

Fall is an important time to think about your soil. If you have poor quality soil, this is an excellent time to add amendments (such as peat moss) or shredded newspaper (which will decompose over the winter and make wonderful soil come spring. If you have a cover crop like (winter rye, a clover, etc.), let it die from a frost and turn it under in the spring before planting (when you can add compost).