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For The Garden

Gardening tips on shade cloth

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: January, 2014, Page 127

Q - I never got around to removing the summer shade cloth over my raised bed, which I will replant with veggies in early February. Should I remove the sun shade for the next few months or leave it in place?

A - Remove the sun shade because vegetables do best with full sun from now through spring, advises University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Emeritus Olin Miller. Most vegetables, especially fruiting types—such as peppers, melons, squash and tomatoes—need six to eight hours of full sun, with morning sun and afternoon shade being preferable. However, if you start transplants indoors, they will benefit from “hardening off,” which means gradually exposing them to the sun’s intensity over a week or so, before planting in the ground in full-sun exposures. Cool-season leafy crops and root vegetables will tolerate partial shade. Reinstall the sun shade about mid-April or whenever the plants show stress from too much sun, such as sunburn or excessive wilting.
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