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Protecting Seedlings From The Elements and Chipmunks

frost damage magnolia
Frost damage on Magnolia late March

Well it has been a busy couple of weeks. The early arrival of spring in our area pushed many plants ahead at least three weeks pulling forward my spring pruning schedule. Then the cold weather returned which meant watching the weather network nightly to check for the need to cover plants seeded early in the vegetable garden. Luckily, with the exception of the magnolia blooms, we have not seen too much in the way of frost damage so far this year.

We’ve also had little rain the last few weeks and the soil is surprisingly dry for April. Since the forecast called for rain later this weekend I decided to take advantage and plant out my onion and cabbage seedlings. Each have only been hardening off outside for about three days but should be okay given the predicted cloud cover and rain in the forecast.

Cabbage start
Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage Starts

After planting out my onion seedlings last spring I was quite surprised, and not to happy, to find that our local chipmunk population ate the tops off all of my seedlings. So this year, I covered my newly planted onion seedlings with a floating row cover. A lightweight row cover fabric, floating row covers can be placed directly over plants, without the need for any support. Filtered sunlight and water penetrate the fabric, but bugs and pests are kept out. Often used to protect plants in early spring or late fall from frost, I’m using mine to give my onions a chance to harden up so the chipmunks won’t find them so tasty.

Onion starts planted
Cobra and Redwing Onion starts planted next to earlier planted onions from sets.
Row Cover pest protection
Lightweight row covers protects young onions from chipmunks

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