Weather Protection

Next, consider your ability to provide frost protection. If you're starting during the cool season, decide how much that's going to play in your decision to gamble and start early or play it safe. You may not be home enough to put on the covers, or you may be unwilling to put in that much time and effort.

If you're starting your garden during the hot season, you must decide how much weather protection you're going to provide, such as shade film, wind screens, and heavy rain protection. A lot depends upon your area of the country and the typical weather you can expect during each season. Make your plan to fit your particular weather conditions. For example, some areas of the country receive drying winds all summer long. Other areas lack in sunshine and the air is still but very humid. If your area is windy, you should provide some sort of wind screen and some ground cover or mulching system to hold the moisture. But if it's cloudy and humid, you should make sure there's nothing to hold in the dampness or block out any drying sunlight, which will cause rotting and mildew.

It's easy to add a clear plastic cover when a wire framework is in place. Plastic will protect against those early spring frosts.

Don't schedule the entire year all at once. You'll find that your crops will grow more quickly or slowly than you anticipated, your weather will be different from last year, and you might spend a lot of time and work on a chart that could be obsolete in a couple of months. Start with the first few months. Get your crops started, the quick crops replanted, and thesummer crops planted and into their first harvest. Later, you can compare your projected charts with your actual harvest records to see how close your estimates were. Make note of the discrepancies. This will help you with next year's crop schedules.

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