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Protect Your Garden with Shade Cloth

Protect Your Garden with Shade Cloth
A vegetable garden can suffer under a hot summer sun. Your vegetables and other plants can actually be burned by the sun, and the soil of your garden can easily dry out on particularly hot days. To combat this, a lock-stitched knitted shade cloth should be utilized.

What is a Shade Cloth?

Shade Cloth is a woven or knit fabric that decreases how much sun shines on your vegetable garden. Because different vegetables and plants need different protection, shades are available in many different densities and colors. The variety of options allows different amounts of sun through the shades.  Adding a cloth is an easy and effective way to lower irrigation costs. It also has the added benefit of defending your vegetables from birds.

How to Use Shade Cloth

The first step in using a shade is determining just how much sun each of your vegetables will need. Vegetables like tomatoes and peppers thrive with a bit more sunlight. Other vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, and most types of beans, do better with a little less sunlight. Additionally, starters that have just been transplanted as well as seedlings, should be in reduced sunlight until they are already established. If a vegetable gets too much sun, this can result in burned or wilted leaves, or leafy vegetables that will taste bitter. Sun damage can also cause a plant to "bolt" which basically means it prematurely goes to seed.

For plants that do better in the sun, a cloth with a 10% density is best. For plants that are more sensitive to the sunlight, a cloth with 30% density is optimal. The weight of the 30% density shade cloth also helps block the wind, which can dry out your plants. For a green house, the use of 40% density cloth is ideal. Shades with lighter colors will reflect more of the heat and rays, while darker shades will result in a higher temperature. In the summer, vegetable and herb gardens will need anywhere from 40% to 60% protection from the scorching sun. Exotic plants like orchids require the highest amount of protection, starting at 70% density.

After a shade with a density that is best for your plants has been chosen, it is simple to install. For the easiest installation, NYP sells plastic locking clip grommets. No tools are needed when using the clipping grommet. They lock into your desired position, perfect for tying your cloth down in place. Plastic, metal, or wood framing can also be used to suspend the shade above the vegetables. Another option is to use two poles or trees to hang it. At minimum, 24 inches of space should be left between the cloth and the plants for good air circulation. As the plants grow, this space should be continually checked. In the cooler evenings, to allow the best air circulation, the cloth should be temporarily removed. If only used during growing season and stored between seasons, these cloths should last for multiple years.

To make sure you are choosing the correct shade cloth density, color, and size for your greenhouse or garden, contact NYP Corp.

For hoop-houses, don't forget to keep in mind your ground cover.