Can Tarps Be Used to Cover and Protect Plants?

You spend a lot of time in your flower and vegetable gardens. How much have you invested? The average household spends about $120 per year on their gardening supplies. That’s just the seeds, seedlings, soil additives, and tools. You’re also investing a lot of time and energy, and you want to protect that investment. Did you know that tarps are one of the best ways to protect the plants you’re nurturing?

Types of Tarps That Are Good for Gardens

Why use tarps in your garden? There are several reasons. Tarps block the frost from harming your new plants. It’s impossible to predict when the final frost of the spring or the first frost of the fall will occur. When it does, it will kill your plants. If you’ve invested $3 each and bought 20 plants, you’ve lost $60. Plus, you have to replace them, so you’re spending another $60. Protecting plants from frost is one of the many reasons to use tarps in your garden.

You have mulch you’re spreading around your flower garden. You don’t want the mulch to end up in your grass after it’s delivered. Have the mulch delivered on top of a tarp, and every ounce of mulch goes where you want it and not in the grass.

Last year, tomato hornworms ruined your tomato crop. Cabbage moths made your cabbages inedible. You’ve also battled cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and Japanese beetles. Keep them all off of your plants by using a protective tarp.

Blue Poly Tarps

Lawn maintenance chores can be pretty messy. You have cedar mulch delivered each spring to refresh your gardens. If it’s dropped on the driveway, you have to sweep up the small pieces when you’re done. Putting it on the lawn leaves you with small fragments that you won’t want the lawnmower to hit.

Use a blue poly tarp for easy cleanup. If you have the mulch dumped on the tarp, you can shake out the tarp over the garden bed when you’re done. Any small fragments of mulch end up where you want them. You’re getting a truckload of garden soil and compost. Blue poly tarps also help keep those items from making a mess on your driveway or lawn.

When you’re done, the blue poly tarp is easy to clean. Just rinse it off and let it dry. When it’s fully dry, fold it and tuck it away in a storage bin until you need it again.

Clear PVC Curtains

If you’re looking to cover crops without blocking the sun, a clear PVC curtain is perfect. These tarps are 20 mils thick and won’t easily rip or face damage from abrasion. With grommets placed every two feet, you can place steel fence posts every two feet and secure each grommet to the post. You have a cover over the garden, creating a greenhouse effect for heat.

Steel fence posts are helpful here because they have preformed holes from the bottom to the top. Choose how high off the ground you want the tarp and move it as needed. When seeds are first sprouting, keep the tarp low to the ground. As they grow and the frost risk lessens, raise the tarp to a higher point.

When is a clear PVC curtain best? It’s perfect when you live in a northern climate where frosts occur late into the spring. You extend the growing season, which allows you to try your hand at growing vegetables that need a longer time, such as sweet potatoes.

As the tarp is waterproof, you still need to make sure the garden is watered. Doing so is easy if you use a sprinkler and direct it to spray under the tarp.

Mesh Tarps

You have a garden that does well, but insects, birds, and animals destroy your growing plants and vegetables. Mesh tarps keep deer and rabbits from munching on your lettuce leaves. They keep cabbage worms off your young cabbages. They can also keep squash bugs, tomato hornworms, and other destructive insects away.

Mesh tarps are tough, but they’re also lightweight. You can put these tarps over your plants without damaging them. As the tarps allow rain to pass through the mesh, your garden is watered with every storm or any time you get out the hose or sprinkler.

Do you live in a hot, sunny climate? Mesh tarps block 55% of the sunlight. It’s helpful if you’re in an arid area and want your plants to enjoy some shade as they grow.

Silver UVR Heavy-Duty Poly Tarps

If you grow parsnips, leaving them in the ground well past the frost helps with their sweetness. To grow garlic, you need to plant it in the fall and wait for spring. In a cold climate, it can be concerning having them exposed to a freeze or sudden thaw.

At the end of the season, protect your garden and those plants by using a heavy-duty poly tarp. Pull all of the weeds and spread a thin layer of compost. Protect the garden by covering everything with a tarp. That tarp will keep animals out of the garden during the winter. It also helps heat the soil faster when spring arrives.

A silver UVR heavy-duty poly tarp is tough and resists mildew. It also isn’t going to be damaged by sunlight or temperature changes. The UVR protection and mildew resistance make it a good choice for a groundsheet. With 12 tarp sizes starting with 8 x 10′ and going up to 30 x 50′, you’re sure to find the size you need.

Vinyl-Coated Slip and Slide Tarps

Vinyl-coated tarps make excellent tarps for blocking weeds on your walking paths. If there are no weeds, the plants get all of the water. It would be best if you had a place to walk between rows, so you leave a dirt path. But, the weeds get out of control without any cover. These tarps keep that from happening.

The narrow form of a slip and slide tarp is ideal. With sizes as small as 5 x 20′, you can take this tarp and create walking paths where you need them. Weeds will not grow because the sun won’t get through the tarp’s thickness. Water won’t pass through and encourage weed growth in the areas where you need to walk, and it ensures your growing vegetables get plenty of water.

You’re welcome to order custom sizes with a vinyl-coated slip and slide tarp. Otherwise, you can fold the 5′ wide tarp in half and have a 2.5′ wide path anywhere they’re needed in your garden. A vinyl-coated tarp is UV-treated, too, so you don’t have to worry about the sun wearing it out.

Quickly Get the Sizes You Need

The average size of a family garden ranges from 200 to 500 square feet. Most people choose to go with a square or rectangular garden shape, but it will vary. If you have a 20 x 20′ garden, you’ll find most tarps will fit the area you need without needing to find a custom size. What if your garden isn’t a standard size? That’s not a problem.

We’re happy to come up with the right tarp for your gardening needs. At Chicago Canvas & Supply, many of our bestselling tarps are available in custom sizes, so you get the size you need and don’t have to purchase separate tarps to fit the space. Whether you’re interested in a clear PVC curtain or a mesh tarp, please fill out our custom quote form to get prices.