We have reached the hotter than Hades period of the Summer down here in Dallas Texas. This is usually the time that I harvest all the produce I have and take a short gardening vacation. Usually the cost of water starts to out weigh the amount of veggies produced, but this year I decided to try something different. This year I decided to provide shade to my thirsty garden plants to give them a little break from that harsh afternoon sun and it is working like a charm! It does strike me as a bit ironic that I moved my garden to the front yard to get away from the shade and now I am trying to create it. Such is the dilemma of a Southern gardener.
Now, while I would like to cover the whole garden with shade cloth, I have to find something the city won’t have a blue fit over. I have tried to build a shade structure to cover my raised bed in the past, but the wind took it away like a kite with no string. Turns out I was over thinking the whole thing. I came up with a great solution totally by accident. Love it when that happens!
I had cattle panels up, to support my tomatoes, already in place. See how I support my tomatoes here. I had strategically planted bell peppers on the East side of each panel because I knew the tomatoes would give them some shade. Well, when I tore out my tired tomato plants my pepper plants practically screamed, “Help us, we’re scorching! It burns, it burns!” In my sun-scorched produce panic I headed straight to the kids beds to rip off their sheets for use in the garden. My hubby, who regularly tries to speak reason into my life, couldn’t help but notice my sheet removing frenzy. I say, he tries to speak reason, because to his immense frustration he is not always successful. A ‘hem, we do have a new puppy after all. Any hoo, his reasoning won out in this case and we went to purchase some shade cloth.
For those of you that live in this area I purchased mine at Northhaven Gardens at $2.99/ft. The kind I chose was a little more expensive, but worth it. Here’s why: It is made of this green rubbery stuff that doesn’t fray along the cut edges, so it can be used year after year. The wind goes right through it so you don’t have to worry about your money floating down the block, literally! It also seems to hold up to the elements very well.
If you are wanting to have it delivered to your door here is a source I found online that also comes with a substantial savings: click on image for ordering info.
I did try burlap first, because I had some on hand and it was a lot cheaper. The results
were less than satisfying. It frayed, flapped and sagged. Sometimes I feel like that burlap looked at the end of the day; sagging and a little frayed around the edges. Especially now that I am potty training a puppy! She is sooo sweet though. I will have to introduce you all to her properly in a post soon.
If your southern garden is screaming out for relief then provide some shade. It is easier than you think and the increase in fresh veggies is worth the trouble!
Look at those peppers! Yay for shade!
The other thing that has made my Summer garden successful is free water from my rain barrels. Stay tuned; next week I will show you how to make a rain barrel of your own. It is easy to make and affordable. Until then happy gardening!
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