Although there is rumor of some coming our way, it has been 40 days with out rain. The Summer sun is relentless and my tomatoes are feeling the heat. If you have an indeterminate variety of tomato, you like me, will be trying to nurture your plants through this heat into the cool of Fall for another harvest. A good way to do this is to provide shade. I got the idea of providing shade from Urban Farm in Arizona. Check them out. They are a great inspiration to me. I mean hats off to anyone that can grow food in the arid desert climate of Arizona! http://www.urbanfarm.org/
While I got the idea for shade from our friends at Urban Farm my good friend and gardening buddy Sam came up with the design. So glad I have his engineering mind in my garden. He sure knows how to grow some tomatoes! Great things can happen when you share your garden with a friend.
The frame is made of light weight pvc pipe. It is attached to the wood of the raised bed with pvc T joints by driving a screw through the top opening right down into the wood. I think you will be able to see by the pictures how it is pieced together. If you have any questions ask away in the comments and I will try to clear it up for you. We glued the 4 top headers together with pvc glue but left all the straight pieces in between and the legs with out glue. This way we can take it apart for storage. We even made some little 4 inch legs so that the top can just be lowered and covered with frost cloth for winter gardening.
I just put a old scrap of shade cloth I had on top for now, but I am ordering a nicely hemmed 10′ x 10′ piece because I am sure I will use it year after year. How much shade is too much? Turns out 40% is perfect for vegetables. Here is the store I found mine at: http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/product/40-percent-black-shade-cloth/shade-cloth
Hope you like our garden engineering marvel to shade your plants. I for one am looking forward to the taste of tomatoes in Fall!