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Thank you all for your insight!

Question: 
I am seeding cucurbits this morning and thinking about our planting and maintenance strategies this year. Have any of you used reemay on squash after transplanting, without using metal hoops to hold the reemay up, off the plants? If so, I'd love to hear how it went! We're planning on using hoops, but would avoid it if possible.

Responses:

If you're looking just for beetle protection, you can drape row cover right over the plants - just make sure it's not tight side to side so the fabric doesn't smush the plants.  If you want to warm them up you'll want hoops.

We avoid hoops when possible, so yes we have tried that, and it didn't go well. The remay battered the plants in the wind and we lost enough plants that we resolved to always use hoops for cucurbits.

We cover our cucurbits immediately after transplanting with the lightweight wide Covertan from Brookdale, I think it’s 35’ wide. Our rows are 200’ long and we can cover about 6 rows with it. We don’t use hoops but give it some room to expand as the plants grow and shovel dirt along the edges to secure it. We remove to cultivate and recover then remove for good before flowering. We like having fewer large covers because it is easier and faster to cover and uncover. Protects the plants from cucumber beetles, squash bugs, slugs, and cooler temps as they get established. Good luck!

I don’t use hoops any more.  There is always some broken leaves, and sometimes some rough looking plants for a few weeks, but they take off, and push the cover up just fine.
It works better with smaller stout plants.  Not tall leggy ones.
these plants must be going in a hoophouse ?

When I worked at River Berry we would transplant zucchini and summer squash and then use remay over it without hoops. It's a little hit or miss with frying plants but if you catch a window of cloudy days and keep them watered it always seemed to work pretty well for us and saved a lot of messing around with hoops. We would usually seed rye grass between the beds and then use a pretty large piece of row cover - like 50' wide to cover the whole block - and leave it on until we start seeing flowers. At that point the rye grass would be well established in the wheel tracks and maybe just need to be mowed/weedwhacked once or twice during the harvest season.

We do exactly this - cover winter squash with non-hooped remay for extra warmth and insect protection.  We dont take it off until we see flowers. 

I guess some folks have luck without hoops, but we have not. Wind is the issue. Flapping remay on new transplants is a death sentence, at the very least sets them way back

For our winter squash, we do not plant it in plastic, but then we always cover it with multi row reemay immediately after planting and do not use hoops. We always make sure to build enough slack into the reemay, so the plants don't get crushed or sheared off. You have to be super careful with this!  We use sand bags to hold it down, then take it off after a few weeks to cultivate and hoe. We use overhead irrigation with this system. For melons, we plant in plastic, then cover with single row reemay without hoops, then use trickle. Curious to hear what others do! Hope that helps!

Super quick note about not using the hoops... I've tried it multiple times. This was with like acres of hoops and remay at the old farm I managed... really tempting to not hoop.  

One time we didn't hoop over peppers. Then we left it on too long and it sealed to the plastic weed barrier and not only destroyed the plants but peeled back all the plastic. It was a thing of nightmares. With cucurbits we would get stems breaking/windburn/sunburn etc.

We have a very dialed in obsessive remay and hooping system since we are in a windy area and hate fighting remay at 9pm.

Maybe there's a way but I have never not regretted skipping hooping.

We lay relay over them with out hoops and its fine. I don’t hoop anything anymore.
Though I don’t put squash out before may 15 so you may find you ll have more cold protection. Some studies stay its the same though.

We used to use hoops, that does work. But then we by accident had a field with no hoops and they did fine. So now we simply cover the field after planting. Small plants work best but the large plants will survive as well. We now dip the plants in clay before setting out to futher help them survive.

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Cory Froning (she/her)
Richmond, Vermont
734-546-1068