It’s a good idea to install shade cloth over your garden to keep plants cool during the hot summer months. It protects them from sunburn and reflects harmful ultraviolet (UV) light that can damage DNA in plants, inhibiting growth.
Install shade cloth over garden in a variety of sizes and density levels, depending on what you’re growing. Look for knitted or woven fabrics; they don’t unravel as easily as a standard sack of hay. Choose a dark color to reduce the amount of sunlight absorbed by the cloth.
Cool Comfort: Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Shade Cloth Over Your Garden
If you don’t have a sewing machine, try using wire coat hangers to bind the edges of your shade cloth. Cut the wire coat hangers into six-inch sections and bend them into a U shape by hand or with pliers. Insert the metal pieces into the ground at a one-foot interval around the edge of your vegetable beds. This method keeps the shade cloth secure, excludes garden pests and makes it easy to remove and replace as needed.
If you haven’t tried using a shade cover before, experiment with it on a small scale to see what effect it has on your plants. Grow the same crop next to each other with and without a shade cloth, taking notes of the results. Note root length, plant height, days to maturity, overall leaf size, regrowth and other observations. You may find that your crops are more productive when protected with a shade cloth.