Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

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Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby hope farmer » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:39 pm

Looking through several seed catalogs and see a product they call "floating row cover". I also see a product they call a "grow tunnel". I'm wondering if these two products are basically the same thing with the same benefit of helping to warm the ground and exclude insects.

The floating row cover looks to be just that, a sheet of poly fabric draped over the plants. The grow tunnel looks to be a sheet of poly fabric affixed to support wires. Any recommendations on one vs. the other?

13 degrees tonight, think I'll go crawl under my electric row cover.

Appreciate your time.
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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby Bill Hudson » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:36 am

Floating row cover can be purchased in great big sheets and be used to cover a lot of ground. Have to use sandbags or something similar to weight it down on the edges and between rows. Less labor intensive than tunnels, on application, however you have to fill sandbags and then store the materials for future use. The cover can be removed on a hot day and replaced for the cool night.

Both systems use a lot of labor and require some storage space for the materials used.

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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby SONNY » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:01 pm

Depending upon the wind conditions in your area both would be waste of money and time!---around here we could never get them installed, let alone keep them in place!--a guy down the road 5 miles or so tried to put up a large hi-tunnel 80 feet long and it stayed up a short time and wind tore the thing apart,-- so be the judge of your conditions before going to a lot of expense and trouble with them! thanks; sonny

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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby hope farmer » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:46 pm

Don't know your location. What do the folks do in your area if they want to start plants early?
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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby Bill Hudson » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:12 pm

hope farmer wrote:Don't know your location. What do the folks do in your area if they want to start plants early?


Northeast Ohio. Commercial producers use floating row covers, primarily in sweet corn. Row tunnels on smaller veggies that aren't produced in the volume of sweet corn. One grower, near me, actually transplanted sweet corn started in his green house. So-so results.

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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby hope farmer » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:46 pm

Transplanting corn?? Wow. Sounds tedious. I'm leaning towards trying the row cover. Reading the ads, it sounds a little more flexible than the grow tunnel. If it works out, I may try adding a few hoops of rebar later. I'm hoping to get a few things started indoors and transplant under the row cover. Hate waiting till late July and August to get decent tomatoes.
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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby Bill Hudson » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:51 pm

The grower has a two row transplanter and a greenhouse to start the corn, so it is not a huge undertaking for him. Gives him a couple of weeks jump on the early sweet corn market.

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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby SONNY » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:37 pm

I started sweetcorn in the house in a big shallow pan, then transplanted it outside!---it was ready 2 or 3 weeks AFTER the direct seeded stuff. (the transplant shock setback is really bad here)
Our black Illinois gumbo soil warms up early in the spring, but you have the chance of killing frost until mid. to late April here also have the high winds year round (the reason we are surrounded by wind turbines,! LOL!!!)-
We are going to try a couple small cheap plastic green houses braced with steel framing set deep in the ground this year to try starting plants outside instead of starting them in the house as we did in the past! thanks; sonny

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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:14 am

Many people in this area that start plants inside say they do better if a few days before the transplant you start taking them outside and leaving for an hour or two and make it longer each day, then after about a week transplant them.
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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby Billy Fussell » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:39 am

John, that is exactly the way my wife's uncle used to do his tomatos. That way, no transplant or weather shock.

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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby DanR » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:51 am

We have occasional high winds here. I lost a hoop house to the wind. I wised up and rebuilt on the leeward side of the barn and had no problems since. I use 20" sections of PVC pipe which bend some with the wind. BTW the greenhouses with the steel ribs like the ones sold by the big box and TSC are a complete waste of money. They won't last a year in windy areas.
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Re: Floating Row Cover vs Grow Tunnel

Postby Georgia Boy » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:47 pm

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:Many people in this area that start plants inside say they do better if a few days before the transplant you start taking them outside and leaving for an hour or two and make it longer each day, then after about a week transplant them.

That is what we do to. The more you are able to leave them outside the better they seem to do after transplanting.

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