Do you struggle to keep the water up to your vegetables in summer, especially in hot areas of the country? It might be time to install some shade protection for your garden.
You’ve probably been told that all vegetables love sun and can’t get enough of it. That might be the case in cooler areas but it certainly isn’t the case when you grow vegetables in scorching heat!
Our summers are hot. Proper hot. Temperatures are steady at around 95F for months on end, and 109F is not unusual. Add to that a hot westerly wind and vegetables struggle as much as humans do.
You might get away without shade if you water 3 times a day. But, not only does that use a lot of water, it also takes effort. Plus you’ve got to remember to do so!
If you’re having trouble keeping veggies healthy in summer, shade cloth is the answer. Shade cloth doesn’t block all the sun. You can get shade cloth in many densities, ranging from a light shade (30%) to a deep shade (90%).
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When we had our nursery, we mainly grew tropical plants. We grew them under 80% shade.
How do you know which density of shade cloth is right for your vegetables?
Bootstrap Farmer has a great image to help us out.
Guide to Using Shade Cloth from: Bootstrap Farmer
Hot summer sun can actually damage your plants. They become weaker and less capable of resisting pests and disease. The more they are in scorching heat, the more moisture they lose. As they lose moisture, the chlorophyll in the plant breaks down.
Intense sun also damages your soil. It becomes crusty and brittle, and very hard to keep moist and alive.
Should You Shade Your Vegetable Garden?
If you are noticing some of the signs below, it’s time to provide some protection for your garden.
- Sunburn on plants’ leaves. The University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Centre describes sunburn as “pale, bleached, or faded areas on the foliage, which eventually become brown and brittle.”
- Your greens (lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc.) are bolting too soon.
- You’re constantly watering the garden.
- It’s too hot for you to work in the garden for any length of time
- Plants aren’t setting fruit, or not as much as they should.
- Your soil dries out in hours and is almost impossible to re-wet.
Guide to Using Shade Cloth
from: Bootstrap Farmer