garden
 

Questions and answers

Here are some of the questions we have been asked by our customers and our answers
If you have any other question please email us
Happy Gardening
Judy

Hot wet season protection - Cairns Queensland

Question
I've just discovered your product on the net. I live in Cairns and am looking for something to protect my vegie patch from the hot wet season which usually starts around November.
I was wondering if the Grow Cover would make it cooler than direct sunlight and if it would protect the vegies from our torrential down pours by breaking the raindrops fall. What do you think?
I was planning on putting up shade cloth, but this looks like much more versatile.

Answer
GrowCover does have some shading effect, about 16% for standard GrowCover and 19% for GrowCover HD. Will that be enough? (Note: We no longer sell GrowCover HD)

Veggies generally love sunshine. I am sure you will find it excellent for saving your veggies from heavy rain and strong winds (not sure about cyclones, though!).

We live pretty near the southern coast and we get the occasional heavy storm with high winds (100km an hour plus) and torrential rain and the GrowCover in our garden sails through without a problem and our veggies are totally protected.

As you see on our web site we have our veggies under GrowCover hoophouses and we have never lost one to storms, or anything else for that matter.

My guess is that because the fabric is permeable to air it does not have the same wind resistance as a more solid covering. As a bonus GrowCover will also protect your veggies from most insects so the need for pesticide drops away to virtually nothing.

 

Aphid and thrips

Question
Can you please advise whether your netting will allow aphids and thrips to pass through?

Answer

We would love to be able to say no, but unfortunately the little devils are so tiny they can still get through the mesh. It stops most insect pests but not these.  Apart from a solid barrier like plastic which creates all sorts of other problems we don't know of a fabric that does. 

Mending small areas of damaged GrowCover - Tasmania

Question
Inevitably however we have got little bits of damage to the fabric that need fixing. We have some left over fabric but could you tell me what glue to use to fix them on with? I could try sewing them but thought I would ask you first.

Answer
Yes, you can of course sew up any damage but we have been experimenting with using adhesive tape.  We have actually been hoping that we could join large pieces of GrowCover together but there is no reason why it should not be used to repair minor damage.  Now, I must warn you that we have not been experimenting for more than a few weeks but so far two types of tape we have used are working well.  But weeks is not years so be aware that they may breakdown over time.

We have used the tape on both sides of the fabric which may be overkill, but as I say we are still experimenting.

The tapes we are currently trying are:

1.  Aluminium tape ...The tape is made from shiny aluminium so will be quite noticeable when in use but so far it has held the two pieces of GrowCover together very firmly and will not pull apart even when I try real hard. 

2.  Agricultural Polyethylene general repair tape called (All weather tape)( double sided and single sided) that we obtained from www.tapesonline.com.au.  They also sell Foil Tape which looks like the aluminium tape I mentioned above.  If you are putting on a patch rather than just pulling together two edges the double sided tape could be a better.


Walk in tunnel with high wind and light snow - Tasmania

Question
I first heard about Grow Cover from Warm Earth magazine and am interested in using the product to protect our veggie beds.
We live at 500m in southern Tasmania so I have some questions regarding load and wind bearing properties of the fabric. I would ideally like to create walk-in structures.
We are thinking of a frame made of steel reo rods or star pickets with heavy gague irrigation pipe for the arches with timber frames at either end.

Answer
Your frame sound good and very similar to ones other customers have built and are very happy with, particularly those made with star pickets and heavy duty 50mm poly pipe.
The frames do need to be well secured to the ground and the poly pipe braced so it doesn't bend back and forward. This can be done with timber battens etc.
The fabric can then be stretched over the frame and firmly secured.  When tightly stretched it sheds hail and deflects wind better.  It also discourages, though it doesn't stop, snow from accumulating.

Question
HD Grow Cover is described as heavier and thicker, does this mean it has more wind resistance than the lighter fabric?

Answer
Yes, it will have slightly more wind resistance, but for a walk in tunnel the GrowCover HD would be a better solution because it stretches less giving a firmer more secure cover.
This means snow and  hail will tend to slide off rather than pool on the fabric.
We noticed in a heavy hail storm that the hail just rolled off.

Question
We can experience winds of up to 90k regularly and there is the possibilty of light to moderate snow at any time. We also have some extremely heave frosts.
I would prefer to use the lighter fabric if it would cut down on the wind resistance of the structure, but could it cope with the load of snow or ice from frost sprinklers?

Answer
We have had winds of this speed and found our walk in tunnel cover in GrowCover HD withstood it fine, (even though our frame is far from perfect) the important thing is making sure the frame and fabric is firmly anchored to the ground. 
Because the fabric is permeable to air the pressure differential on each side of the fabric is lessened making it more able to sustain strong winds.  A key element is securing the fabric at ground level.  This makes a great deal of difference.
Lighter fabric on low hoop houses was also fine as long as it is firmly attached. We have not used this on walk in tunnels and have no customers who have so we have no experience of how it would be.

Question
Is the HD fabric better at protecting plants from frost?

Answer
It is the same for both.  Incidentally, we wonder whether you would need to use frost sprinklers in your tunnel structure.  We don't know from personal experience because GrowCover gives good protection with the level of frost we get here.

Question
Do you know of anyone using a dome design to improve aerodynamics?

Answer
Sorry but no, but would love to know.  From our own experience we know that our garden hoop houses pictured on our web site have never collapsed or been damaged by strong winds.  We are near the south coast and we occasionally get storms with winds of 100k plus.

Question
Would the fabric survive the effects of poultry if the gardens were used as chicken tractors or would the structure required additional wire mesh?

Answer
The GrowCover HD would be tougher and therefore better for a chicken tractor, and as long as secured well should not require additional wire.  GrowCover is very strong and even if accidentally cut will not run.
I don't know if you have any problems with possums or other animals but customers who have bought GrowCover with this specifically in mind have found it stopped them getting through.
Wire may catch on the fabric and cause unnecessary wearing.

Question
Do you have any information on the effects of the fabric on increasing or maintaining soil temperature?

Answer
We do not have any scientific data on warming and maintaining soil temperature but from experience it does. Our customers confirm this too.

Question
With weather extremes (37 c max last week, 14 c today) and a shortened growing season, we can immediately see the benefits of crop coverings.

Answer
We have found that in protects plants in hot weather. Yesterday we had 38 degrees and the young cucumber seedlings in our walk in tunnel were just fine at the end of the day.
We think this is because it maintains a level of moisture inside the structure and lessens the drying from hot winds. 
We would expect it to also lengthen your growing season, enabling you to sow earlier in spring and harvest later into autumn.

Question
We are restricted by cost, however, so any information you can forward to us will be of great assistance.

If you are contemplating more than one walk-in tunnel we would suggest that you get enough fabric for one structure first. 
When you have built and used that for a bit you will much better understand the best way of designing your structures which you can than utilise for your additional ones. 
What we suggest is that you tell us what the dimensions of your proposed structure(s) (total length of support hoop, length,width and height of tunnel) and from our experience we can suggest the most economical way of cladding it. 
We have done this for lots of customers.  If your sizes are a bit flexible we can then suggest the best width of fabric to use which will reduce any wastage.



Vegetable garden protection in hot summer - Brisbane, Queensland

Question
I am looking for a product to protect our vegetable garden particularly from the hot summer sun in Brisbane Qld. Would GrowCover be suitable for this?

Answer
We cannot speak from personal experience, not being in Queensland, but we can tell you that we sell a lot of GrowCover to customers in your state.

We also often get asked if GrowCover should be left covering the plants when the weather gets very hot., which is allied to your question.  As far as that is concerned we do tend to do that ourselves with the normal precaution of making sure the plants are getting sufficient water.

Recently we had a customer from South Australia send us a couple of pics (attached) showing her  plants after the recent 40o + hot spell.  Some were under GrowCover and others were not.  The ones under GrowCover came through unscathed, those unprotected nearly all died.  Our customer commented:

"The GrowCover is working well - everything flourished during the heat wave we had. The veggies out in the open garden areas didn't fare so well (see attached photo). Looks like we have a winner with the hoops, clips and GrowCover."

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GrowCover does have a small shading effect (16%) but it is primarily designed to allow through as much sunlight as possible, which is what most vegetables want.  We believe the reason why it doesn't 'cook' the vegetables is that it retains a degree of humidity that enables the plants to survive in hot weather.  However, if it is purely shade you want then go to shade cloth.  It is designed for the job and is also a bit cheaper!

Heat, humidity, fruit fly attack and pollination - Queensland

Question
I am interested to learn more about GrowCover.  The heat, humidity and insects have dampened my enthusiasm for my organic vegetable garden at the moment.  I would really like to grow plants under cover and it seems that GrowCover could be the answer.  However,  does it exclude the Queensland fruit fly,  and if it excludes all insects how do vegetables that require fertilising by bees, e.g. zucchini etc get on?   Even cherry tomatoes which are usually free of fruit fly are now all being stung.

My garden is now covered with mulch till the weather gets a bit cooler and I am encouraged to start again but I need to have a different approach and a garden using GrowCover seems a possibility.. 

I realise that you operate out of West Australia where the climate could well be quite different to humid sub-tropical Brisbane so I would like to know how effective GrowCover would be here.

Answer

We have many customers from Queensland and no complaints so far and we have been told Growcover does protect from fruit fly (and possums)
GrowCover does not exclude all insects though - very small insects can get through the fabric holes and unless the fabric is 100% sealed off (unlikely) other insects get in from time to time but in reduced numbers.
We are being plagued by grasshoppers at the moment and I have lost several ornamental plants, but the protected vegetable garden beds are fine.
For insect pollination the fabric may need to be lifted during flowering. Although I  have just grown some Zucchini under GrowCover and they are beginning to fruit! so experiments are worth while.
The fabric does seem to give good results in many different climates.

Walk in tunnels - Adelaid Hills, South Austalia

Question
I have been looking at your website because I am thinking about constructing a poly tunnel in my garden for similar reasons to how you started. But I have been thinking about a walk-in tunnel of say 2mt high in the centre. Looking at your website you focus more on small tunnels, but do you have experience of walk in one as well? I guess that I would need to use the heavy duty Growcover probably in the 8mt width. What type and size of pipe would you use for the hoops, how would you secure the cover to the hoops and how would you secure the hoops to the ground?

Answer
I have made a walk in tunnel and I did use the heavy duty GrowCover. The frame was made with 25mm poly pipe was not a great success because it just wasn't stable enough.
We do have other customers who have done a much better job!

I think using star pickets as a support would work better than the 12mm iron rebar that I used. You would need bigger diameter poly pipe too that  would fits over the star picket .
The hoops just slip over the star pickets for support.

You could use anything that can be driven into the ground and stay rigid as long as the poly pipe fits over it. Cross supports between hoops would be good too to help with stability.

I'm sending  photos of one that someone in Narrogin build and my own one. I will be giving it another try.

I found the best way to secure the fabric to the frame was cable ties, not jumbo clips which tended to flip off. I also found it helped to secure the fabric to the ground at the side and ends with week mat pegs.
The ones on our site I really like because the flat disk helps to keep it secure- I've called them Earth Pegs.
The 8m width would be good for a 2m high tunnel.

With the heavy duty GrowCover it is a good idea to have watering system inside the tunnel.


Protection from possums

Question
Could you tell me if this would protect from possums?

Answer
We have a Sydney customer who visits his south of Sydney property every few weeks, and he wanted something to keep out birds and local animals who were devastating his vegetables. He bought 2 packs of growcover to try it and then came back about a month later and bought another 6 packs. So we assume it was successful!
I was told that one of the reasons why animals like possums are deterred is that if they try and get through it they get their paws tangled in the mesh, which they obviously do not like.
So to answer your question we do not know for certain but we believe it will protect from possums.

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