I have been growing vegetables for a few years now in a veggie patch that gets full sun. However I have found that during the hottest days of summer even the most sun loving plants struggle. So in today’s post I want to discuss how I provide shade for the sun loving plants in my vegetable garden over summer.
Plants are often described as either needing full sun or part shade. And sources, both online and offline will tell you that vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans need full sun. I’m here to tell you that a little bit of shade will not hurt them!
The summer sun can be extremely hot where I live. The official temperature often gets into the upper 30’s and even sometimes the low 40’s (°C). As the official temperature is taken in the shade this means it can be several degrees hotter out in the sun!
When I first started growing vegetables they almost cooked under the glare of the sun. Even with extra watering they really struggled! That first year I rigged up a few posts and draped some shade cloth over some of the vegetable patch. That seemed to really make a difference, so we put up some shade cloth over the garden each summer now.
We have organised it so that we can clip the shade cloth to a wire frame. The frame sits about 6 feet in the air so the vegetable patch gets full sun in the early morning and late afternoon. During the middle of the day when the temperature is hottest the garden is partially shaded.
I made the frame using six 8 foot (2.4 m) steel picket posts. The posts were driven into the grown and then wire was run between the posts using the top holes. The shade cloth was then attached to the wire using shade cloth butterfly clips. We also placed a few tall tomato stakes around the garden to hold the shade cloth up where it sags a bit.
I got the large piece of shade cloth (3.66m X 5m) and the shade cloth clips at my local hardware store. The clips make it very easy to attach to the shade cloth to the wire frame.
At the end of the summer we just remove the shortest two pieces of wire and slide the shade cloth off. You can then reattach the wire to the posts and leave the whole frame in position until next summer.
Once you have the materials it is quite easy to set up some shade for your garden.
A little bit of shade makes all the difference to our vegetable garden. The sun loving plants all seem to get plenty of light without baking in the sun. It also makes it more pleasant for us when we have to check on the garden during the day. I don’t think that I would have the large vegetable garden that I have today if I didn’t provide it with some shade!
So don’t be afraid to give your sun loving plants some shade during the heat of summer!
Re- Shade for ‘sun loving plants’ I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had to learn by trial & error that all plants welcome some relief on hot summer days, just as we do. It would be helpful if the growers could communicate this on their labels. In the 40 years or so that I’ve been gardening, this is the first year that I’ve seen a label that suggests keeping the pansy seedlings in a protected/part shade area of the garden until the hottest part of summer has passed, and then transplanting them to a more open sunny position.
I agree Shari, some sort of indicator on the label that could let us know if a plant can cope with intense heat during summer would be very handy!
Thanks for this. I’ve just moved to a house that has a very open hot sunny area which I thought would be fantastic for growing veg but is actually been baked dry! I’m so glad I found this article and how you did it. I will definitely be looking to do the same.
Thanks for the feedback Beth, I’m glad you found it helpful! Not only is it great shade for the plants, it also makes it a bit more pleasant for gardeners on a hot sunny day!