Sun and heat protection update

With much of southern Australia experiencing extreme weather conditions, providing some shade for the vege patch and sensitive parts of the garden can help save water while reducing plant stress. See: Sun and heat protection
Mary recently posted a comment on that post giving details of a fully enclosed shade house that encompasses the entire vegetable patch. These structures can be effective where there is enough heat to dry leaves quickly, but there are a couple of points to be considered before making the decision to construct that type of shade protection for your garden.

Because these structures are fully enclosed by shadecloth, which prevents insect access, you will need to hand pollinate plants that require insect activity to produce crops. These include: the squash family (cucumber, pumpkin, rock melon, summer and winter squash, watermelon and zucchini), okra, coffee, passionfruit, strawberry and other berries, and cowpea. You may also have to hand pollinate broad beans if cropping is low. Sweet corn, popcorn and some varieties of tomatoes rely on wind movement for pollination. A fully enclosed structure will reduce air flow and these plants will also require hand pollination. Fungal diseases can be more common where there is not enough heat or air flow for leaves to dry quickly.
If you want to save seed from plants grown in a fully enclosed shade house, you will also have to hand pollinate: onion, celery, beetroot, silver beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, swede, turnip, carrot, coriander, dill, fennel, and sunflower.
For those interested in constructing a fully enclosed shade house, I’ve included a link to Mary’s site in the ‘Blogs and other Sites’ panel on the right side of this page.

One thought on “Sun and heat protection update

  1. Hi Lyn, I’ve been using Neem oil with some success to strengthen the plants against the heat. Although we haven’t had the extremes of last year here in Melbourne (yet!), the vegies in particular seem more resilient to a few days of 35+ degrees. I also noticed the white mould on the zuchini plant leaves seems to have cleared up since using it. Cheers!

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