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How can I use floating row covers to protect my plants from bugs?

I sometimes use floating row covers for frost protection in spring and fall, but I've heard they can also be used to protect my plants from bugs. How does that work?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Row covers are an easy way to prevent imminent damage from pests that are after something yummy in your garden. Insects can't get through the covers, and plants beneath them are safe from deer, rabbits, and other animals. Floating row covers come in different weights, or thicknesses. Thin row covers make the best pest barriers, because they retain little heat. Drape the row cover over the plants you want to protect, allowing plenty of growing room, then secure the edges with pins, boards, or soil. Let the row cover float over the tops of plants, or keep it aloft with hoops. Better yet, stud the bed or row with a few upright plants, such as dwarf sunflowers or corn, that do a good job of raising a row cover up over the tops of squash, pumpkins, or young flowers that might be devoured by bugs.

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