How to Use Shade Cloth Successfully?

Stephanie C

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I was thinking of putting a shade cloth over my vegetable garden, as it’s been SO hot and sunny here (Texas), and my plants aren’t doing too well. I have a whole bed of raspberries that are trying to fruit, but the berries that develop are few and small and sad-looking. The plants look hot and withered during the mid part of the day. Even my sweet potato and oregano leaves are wilting in this heat.

Will shade cloth help my garden? If so, how can I use it effectively? I don’t want to block so much sunlight that the plants can’t produce. I see that there are different kinds that seem to let varying amounts of light through. How do I know what I need for my climate?
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Shadecloth can be a great help! I haven't needed to use it yet myself as my plants tend to live through any beating they get, so long as I keep up with their watering.
By the sound of it you want to block out the harsh mid-day sun. You can try to figure out at which angles the sun's at and put the shadecloth in a location where it blocks some of the mid-day sun, but not the morning and evening one. A friend of mine has (unintentionally) done it that way and her tomato crops are thriving.
Many plants do great in part-sun and the morning and evening sun is much less harsh on them.

As for knowing what is "right" can be a trial and error. But to decrease the gap from "all or nothing" I'd recommend you check this out;
 

Cathy

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I put up temporary white shade cloth that blocks out I think 45% of uv light... it is on the westerly side of the crop to protect from the hottest part of the day.... I really just wanted to reduce the heat not the sun if that makes sense....

This year I also made a huge decision to research my growing area more and plant less crops in summer as not a lot can stand the heat.

No tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce.... none of those like my heat and tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini all have high fruit fly risk in summer.
 
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