Why does partial shade play an important role in organic vegetable gardening? And how can such shade be done? And is it really vital for your produce to grow?
For gardeners, they know that shade plays an important role in what they are doing as much as the sun. This is especially true if one is into organic gardening of vegetables. The exposure to sun and its need to be in shade still depends upon what plant you want as produce. But learning all about the plant and its needs first will lead a gardener for a better output.
Being one with nature, being in touched with your produce, is the main responsibility of an organic farmer, in the first place. So before you might want to delve into this, you must first be ready to be patient and hardworking because of the holistic approach being used in such type of gardening, everything depends on the farmer, they have no one to turn to except for themselves and the natural environment.
The word horticulture comes from two Latin words, hortus that means garden plant and cultura or culture. It is both an art and science of planting and producing vegetables, flowers, fruits and even ornamental plants.
Horticulture has five parts of study; floriculture for floral plants, landscape horticulture for landscape ornaments, pomology for fruits, postharvest physiology is about keeping the harvested produce fresh and how to prevent these from rotting quickly.
The fifth area of study for horticulture is olericulture, which you might be interested in if you are into vegetable gardening because this tackles the process from producing the crops to marketing such.
You may know that a plant needs soil, sun and water to be able to survive. But you must also be aware that it needs shade, especially the vegetables because not only one must protect it as a plant but must also care for it to produce a good harvest.
In organic vegetable gardening, by exposing the plants to a range of 30 to 50 percent of shade can actually lower the leaves’ temperature by about 10 percent or even more. For the northern and coastal climates, 30 percent shade is recommendable while 47 to 50 percent in hot and summer-like places.
By doing what’s stated above, vegetables like lettuce, arugula, mustard greens and mesclun mix would produce better qualities.
The shade also lessens the temperature of the soil by three to six degrees Fahrenheit. This will benefit vegetables such as cabbages, mustard greens, broccoli, chard, radishes, turnips and spinach that grow in the soil. It is because these produce will germinate better when the soil temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also provide your plants with handmade tents. This will be most beneficial if you have a large produce and you can’t attend to each plant one-by-one, placing cloth as shade at top of each one.
To do a shade tent, you would need sturdy plastic tubing that are about 1/2 or 3/4-inch in diameter. Cut this tubing into 6-foot in length, just enough for it to arch a foot length above your crops. For each arch that you’ve made, place a bamboo or rebar stakes, each one at about 18 inches. Put these in the ground at the sides of the plants’ bed until about 10 inches of each of the stakes is visible. Now you can bow your tubing by sliding its ends at the stakes.
With the foundation ready, you can now place a shade cloth over the arches for it to cover the plants’ bed. Make sure to clip the cloth at the tubing so that it will remain in place.
Remember, if partial shade is not readily available when you are into organic vegetable gardening, make one by just doing the abovementioned procedure.