Christian1971
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Location: West Central Minnesota

Shade Netting

Would peppers, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes benefit from shade netting? Garden center told me it helps reduce odds of lettuce bolting early. Do I keep it on all the time?

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Shade Netting

Well, shade netting is for when it gets hot. Right now, you want all the sunshine you can get -- especially with the sun angle being low and weak.

What sometimes happens is if I try to plant the early spring cool weather stuff like lettuce and cabbage as early as I can, I have to find the garden area that warms up and thaws first. Then spring passes and the sun can get blazing in those areas. If there are any cool weather crops left in that bed, they can bolt or shrivel up pretty fast.

But typically, I plan ahead and plant something else that would shade them by that time.

Even in my area, tomatoes and peppers do not need shading and benefit from as much sun as they can get unless it's an exceptionally hot summer. It's in the southern states that summer temperatures and sun can get too hot for tomatoes and peppers.
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imafan26
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Re: Shade Netting

I agree cool weather won't need shade netting this time of the year. Lettuce, kale, cabbages should be good in full sun till you hit the 70's. It is true that in summer when it gets warmer lettuce will grow very fast. Tipburn is a physiological disorder because lettuce will grow so fast that it cannot get enough calcium transported to the top so it tip burns. The solution to that is to get tip burn resistant varieties and harvest before the lettuce starts to head up which is when it is the most vulnerable so instead of 6 weeks, some lettuce may be ready 3 weeks from transplant. In summer I plant heat resistant lettuce, more red lettuce, and instead of planting in full sun, I plant the lettuce under my trees or you could plant on the east side of the house or garden between taller plants that will give the lettuce some afternoon shade.

The warm season crops beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash want it to be in the 70's and 80's. Peppers and tomatoes though start balking when the temperature approaches 90 and you need to have good leaf cover to prevent some sun scald on fruit. Heat resistant varieties help here and maybe some summer shading and misting to cool the plants will help.

I have used bug and bird netting for pests. I only use shade cloth on my orchids and anthuriums. If you lived in Arizona or Texas where the summers get wickedly hot, shade cloth could help.
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travers33
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Re: Shade Netting

Or you stick a Shade Dot in specific plants, just where you need to diffuse the bright sunlight. It requires no rigging and it looks a lot better than any of the shade cloths on the market. You can see a red Shade in Dot in the photo shading the African Violets on my deck. They work really well and can be moved anywhere needed. https://www.shadeforplants.com
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imafan26
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Re: Shade Netting

There is value to using shade cloth but it really depends on the plants you are shading and the reason why you need the shade. For the most part native plants don't need shade. I can get by in early summer planting lettuce and cabbage under trees. But in July and August it is not just the sun, but the heat that becomes a problem so solarize instead and start planting lettuce again around October when it starts to get cooler. I am frost free so most cool season crops can be grown from October to May. I can start Broccoli and Brussels sprouts in August in seed trays since they will mature in cool weather.

The lettuce farms do use shade cloth to help with summer bolting and tipburn. I does help but lettuce will still mature earlier and faster in smaller heads because of the longer day length. The lettuce grows faster than the vascular system can keep up with so they will get tipburned when the lettuce tries to head up. In the cooler months lettuce can take up to six weeks to mature after transplanting. In summer lettuce may mature after 3 weeks. Shading makes the leaves of the lettuce lanky and less full. So, you have to balance the benefits of shading with the drawbacks. Shade houses increase humidity and it is actually hotter in a shadehouse than out in the open.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Gary350
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Re: Shade Netting

What is your day time temperature in Minnesota? Many cool weather plants will bolt above 75 degrees, long 16 hour days may also cause bolting. My herbs always bolt in TN hot weather but this year I have them all planted in full shade all day, so far so good no bolting temperature has be in the 95 degree range for 3 weeks. I never have good luck with spring, cabbage, lettuce, chard, or any of the cool weather crops they always bolt so I plant them in Aug they do good until frost kills them about Nov 1st to Dec 30 some plants do ok with 25 degree weather. Next year I will experiment with planting spring cool weather crops in full shade to see what happens.

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applestar
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Re: Shade Netting

I find it helps to sustain harvest if I plant each crop in different microclimates. Then some will mature earlier, some will grow slower, and others will mature later or will not bolt in the heat or be killed by frost.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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