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hot climates around the world, vegetables and cut flowers are grown
under shade cloth to reduce heat and light intensity, resulting in
better quality and higher yields. Shade cloth is a weather-resistant
woven or knitted fabric that is available in densities ranging from 12
percent to 90 percent. The density represents the percentage of light
blocked by the cloth; for example, a 47 percent shade cloth blocks 47
percent of the light. Most vegetables should be grown under 30 to 50
percent shade. Shade cloth with density of greater than 50 percent is
generally used for shade-loving plants or as windbreaks.
to success with shade cloth is to hang it high enough above the plants,
and provide enough ventilation that heat does not build up beneath it.
That's easily accomplished in a hoophouse or a specially built shade
structure such as those seen at nurseries. An inexpensive alternative is
a low tunnel made with Johnny's Quick Hoops Bender
. Shade cloth can be
laid over the Quick Hoops, with the sides uncovered for maximum
The shade cast by buildings and tall plants such as corn
also can be used to relieve some of the heat for heat-sensitive crops.
Choosing varieties with good leaf cover to shade fruits such as
tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, can be helpful, too.
shade of any type can reduce the ambient temperature around your plants
by 10 degrees F. or more - in some cases, enough to keep plants from
going dormant in the hottest weather.• Subscribe to Growing for
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Reprinted from JSS Advantage August 2010