understanding the purpose of row covers
You suggest using row covers (a lovely picture of a row cover using hoops) but I don't understand the point being made. To prevent the spotted cucumber beetle from eating the leaves and infecting the plant you suggest this cover. You also remind us of removing the cover when blossoms form so that bees can pollinate them. But aren't the beetles going to get at the plants when the cover is removed? Thank you for your help- George
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Row covers also have potential as a defense against bacterial wilt because they keep out cucumber beetles. As the soil warms up in the spring, cucumber beetles emerge from the ground with one mission: zero in on cucurbits. As they munch on the leaves, bacteria from their mouthparts and end up on the feeding wounds and enter the plants. Soon the plants start to wilt. Row covers keep out the beetles during the vulnerable early-season period.
Most growers remove row covers once flowering starts.
Row covers probably help a great deal during the vulnerable period but the spotted beattles continue to infect the plants well after the blossoms appear. Once the leaves are eaten the infection begins. In any case, the plants die. I don't see, as yet, the benefit. Are there any disease resistant varieties in pickling cakes avail able? Thank you for all your help. George