Using Row Covers to Extend Season
I live in Frederick, zone 6b, and I'd like to know how much earlier I can plant using a floating row cover. For instance, peas can be direct sown beginning March 15. Could I plant March 1st with a cover? Feb 20? Is there a general "rule of thumb" that applies to all plants?
Frederick County Maryland
In general floating row cover can exclude pests and provide frost protection in the spring and fall. See the attached publication regarding the different weights and degrees of protection. http://extension.umd.edu/growit/beyond-basics/floating-row-cover
You may be able to plant earlier however, it depends on the crop, the weather, and the soil can abe worked. If not, rot can be an issue. Also, seed germination can be delayed when soil temperatures are below 40 degrees. You have the option of presprouting the pea seed. See our Vegetable Profiles on peas http://extension.umd.edu/growit/vegetable-profiles-green-peas and other crops. http://extension.umd.edu/growit/vegetable