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Shade Cloth over veggies

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    Hi all, am needing some advice and am hoping someone out there is experienced/knowledgeable regarding vegetable growing in arid climates.

    My beyond patient fiancé is building a large structure for me to grow our veggies in. It receives westerly shade courtesy coolabah trees and has 8 raised beds (currently empty till structure complete). Apart from that it is a rather exposed site in that it has an elevated position atop a sandhill which will see it endure strong winds. Anyway, we will be putting shadecloth on the eastern and northern sides, in addition to the roof. The southern and western will be chicken wire. It will have corrugated iron around each side 1 metre high. It will have misting sprays for cooling once day temps get above 45. My question is this…

    Will 70% shadecloth suffice? I spoke to a lady in Alice Springs who said I needed “at least 70%”, however the shadecloth people all say that I need 50% as photosynthesis won’t occur. I understand that once temps are between 42 – 52 that I can’t expect performance from plants, however I’d just like to keep them alive during the time of extreme heat, so that when temps return to the high 30’s they can bounce back and I can continue harvesting tomatoes, watermelons etc.

    All Input beyond appreciated! 


    Hi DesertChi, a couple of our original members who no longer come here would have been ideal to give you ideas. If you search on threads by Scarecrow or Tullymore you might find some info. Scarecrow also has a blog at which might also help.


    Thanks Steve – I just checked out his blog – it’s fantastic. Might try and contact him.



    I have a bit higher rating shade cloth over and around some of my veggies  and they are doing OK  the tomatoes still ripen but take a bit longer that’s all


    No problem Kristy. One thing I didn’t make clear, Scarecrow is a lady and Doc is her hubby/partner. 🙂

    I remember Scarecrow wrote a number of tutorials for this site. This was when the site was hosted by a different platform so the photos and many of the links may not work but there is still some good info in them. The tutorials are:

    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 1
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 2
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 3
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 4
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 5
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 6
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 7
    Food Gardening for Beginners Part 8


    Just don’t use green shadecloth. George used to work at a nursery and, for reasons I’ve currently deleted from my brain, he tells me that green shadecloth is actually not good for your plants. I’ll get him to post why when he comes home from work


    If I remember rightly scarecrow or it could have been Mauzi said white shade cloth is the best.


    The gardening gurus say 20% shade cloth is best but I can’t find any, suggestions??


    Using shadecloth is mandatory up here in Broken Hill. The sun is fierce. The tomatoes nigh cook on the bushes: not shading them causes burns and blemishes.
    I also plant things in the afternoon shade of the fruit trees. That way, the vegies do get direct morning sun, but spared from the intense UV in the afternoons.
    This year, I’ve had to shade the chillis and the capsicums because I was getting a lot of burn on the western face of the fruits.
    I use beige sunshade – 30% I think – and ropes in a Heath-Robinson configuration to string it up. Looks untidy but does its job.
    Also – let the rockmelons, watermelons, pumpkins ramble – amazing how cooler the soil keeps under their leaves.
    Also have a large shade-house covered with the beige cloth that I grow allsorts of plants in. Includes a pond and waterfall linked by a stream. Gives me a great tropical-like microclimate. (have to post a few photos of that).


    I have a 6+4 m growing tunnel with cream shade cloth veges growing fine have vey hot NW winds in the Mallee up to 45 deg and frosts not much rain so most veges are in wicking beds


    I have one the first retractable shade structures used to cover two Lawn Bowling Greens. The Club has closed so if anyone wants to get really serious about putting their garden under shade let me know. Located in Brisbane.

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