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Stage 2. The collar of the fifth leaf is visible, usually in 20 to 25 days, and the growing point is at or just below the soil surface. The plant is entering a period of accelerated growth. The root system is rapidly developing, and the first leaf (coleoptile) may drop off from the lower stem. Proper weed management, insect control, moisture, and nutrient availability can help to realize yield potential. Producers should apply most post-emergent herbicides at or before this time. Side-dress fertilizer applications are best made at this stage or within the following 10 to 15 days. Plants are about 7 to 9 inches tall (Figure 2).
Row covers are made of either plastic, spun-bonded or woven synthetic materials. They enhance growth by raising daytime air temperature around plants up to 10o F. They offer some wind and frost protection, and provide a barrier against pests. It is essential to secure all edges when installing, but necessary to remove for pollination. Like plastic mulches, these materials can be costly, labor intensive, and a disposal problem.
A cold frame is simply a bottomless box with a glass or plastic top that lets in the sunlight and can be built from a variety of materials. It is generally used to harden seedlings off and protect direct seeded crops from cold temperatures. A cold frame offers a greater degree of frost protection than floating row covers, but if not monitored carefully, can overheat. Disadvantages include bulkiness and cost (if purchased ready-made).
This is a temporary, "no frills" greenhouse structure that can provide earlier crop yields. It is made with metal hoops, usually covered with a single layer of plastic. Sides must be rolled up and down to control temperature and humidity. It is helpful to have an irrigation system, and black plastic mulch on the ground. Hoop houses can be costly and labor intensive, and monitoring and managing pests is critical. 781b155fdc