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Shade or not?

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Shade or not?

Post  schristi69 on 6/4/2010, 4:02 pm

I have my boxes built and ready to fill. In another thread someone mentioned they got ther vermiculite from HD? Where is it located or did you have to ask for it. I have looked there and at Lowes and cannot find it in the Glendale AZ area.

Right now I have tomatoes in containers and they seem to be surviving. I had to put them under shade cloth to shield them from the afternoon sun. I also read here that you do not need that, yet have not had success in the past. Is shading neccessary or not? Once set up I plan to transplant the peppers and tomatoes I have. What kind of shade cloth? Right now I have them under shade cloth from HD which is more for shading people than plants. I am afraid it maight be too much shade.

Should I mulch the containers and the plants in the SFG when I put them in? How often are you watering? I also tried putting in some strawberries and they seem to be hanging on. The ones I put in a strawberry pot I think are gonners, but the ones in individual pots are marginal. I have shaded these also as the sun seems to have cooked the leaves. Any tips or suggestions? All container plants are in LARGE plastic pots to give ample soil buffer for the roots. I think they cooked last year in the damp soil. I was considering building planter boxes to put them in to create an air space and keep direct sun off of the pots.

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Shade or not?

Post  trukrebew on 6/4/2010, 9:43 pm

Not sure about the vermiculite in Home Depot, (possibly in the insulation aisle?) but be sure to check the vermiculite database here http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/Vermiculite-Entry-Form-h1.htm

As far as the tomatoes, they do need direct sun, so don't fully shade them all day. If the shade cloth you have now is totally opaque, that's not good for them. You may as well have a brick wall up. My local nursery uses a sheer white fabric, similar to cheese cloth. I've heard it called horticultural fabric or floating fabric, but may be called something else. If the Arizona sun is that intense, it will take some stress off those guys. Hopefully, someone else in AZ will have more solid advice for you. I have the opposite problem in my NJ yard....too much shade! Too bad we can't split the difference!
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shade or not?

Post  janetgouvas on 6/5/2010, 11:02 am

I saw some shade cloth last year at Walmart. It was thin, (dark or white). I should have bought it, I think. I will get some later. I got a piece of burlap at HD and am using that. It should work because it lets in just enough light. I was temped by the large sheet of materiel used for patios, etc., but it was kind of pricey for an experiment. But depending on where your garden is and how much sun your getting there, I would say shade is a must for us in this area.

The vermiculite was in the area where the compost and peat moss are. Just ask and someone will find it for you. They don't have the course grade so I just bought the medium grade that was there and it seems to be doing the job. It's in a beige bag. If you can find it elsewhere that's good.

Actually, with the heat and whiteflies, (which seem to be responding moderately well to SEVEN), I think I am going to start preparing for a fall garden. From what I am reading it may be more successful for some veggies. Not all, of course, but this is starting to become a challenge. No way am I going to give up and let the desert win LOL

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Re: Shade or not?

Post  duhh on 6/8/2010, 6:29 am

Summer winds nursery on bell and 67th?? has a good price on vermiculite.

The best price I have found is @ sun west containers, but they are only open during the week and are in south phoenix.

We also found it at Lowes but it cost more there. It was in the garden area, but in a strange spot where they keep the indoor plats and plant foods and such.


We recently set up a shade cloth over our garden just as the weather hit 100 deg. but our tomatoes hadn't shown any stress from the heat yet. We just did it because everyone(family) says you need to shade your plant to prolong their life, and to keep them producing. It only shades the plants during the hottesst part of the day and we just picked it up at one of the box stores. My aunt has had shade cloth over her garden all year nad her tom plants are taller than my hubby who is 6 foot.

Right now I am watering every evening. Up until last week it was every couple of days. I haven't mulched yet. Have been thinking about it, but so far the mix has been holding moisture well. My toms are also very bushy and shading their root zones. ( I planted back in Feb) I only water at night so that the soil isn't crazy wet during the day. I heard somewhere that it attracts the heat and will cook the roots if you water in the daylight (when its 100+).

My strawberries were doing well until my dogs ate them. Plant and all, so I can't help you there.

wish you luck.
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Re: Shade or not?

Post  fortop on 6/8/2010, 8:49 pm

The only vermiculite I have found in Tucson (Home Depot, near fertilizer) is medium size, which is too fine according to Mel's information. The Mel's mix is available at Home Depot and Lowes in Tucson for $12.97 per bag, which is the same price or cheaper than making your own mix.
I just planted a couple of tomato plants and bell pepper plants in containers two days ago. I have them south facing against a shed wall, and I am using shade cloth from Lowes garden department to cover them after noon. The plants have not died in two days, but they aren't exactly thriving yet. I am guessing they can handle direct sun until noon, then it get's about 100 degrees - so I think that is too hot. I think they would survive under shade - just grow slower and the leaves would probably not curl up. I will keep them covered all the time if they start to curl and don't come back to normal the next morning.

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Re: Shade or not?

Post  Triciasgarden on 6/8/2010, 9:05 pm

In my SFG book is says the blossoms will only set fruit when the daytime temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees. Higher temperatures can cause the flower to drop without setting fruit. So it would seem that you would have to somehow shade your tomatoes during the hottest part of the day.
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Re: Shade or not?

Post  schristi69 on 6/11/2010, 5:49 pm

Thanks everyone. I went down to Therm-O-Rock since they are just down the road from work. They strictly do wholesale as in semi loads full. They do sell to Sun West who is the wholesaler who then sells to places like Summerwinds. So far that is the only place that I have found near me that has it in quantity. Seems the Star/Moon Valley nursery closed up shop on my side of town. Unfortunately Summerwinds only orders 10 bagas at a time. Told the guy to order 20 for this week as he only had 4 in stock last week. Going by todayto get more.

I find it interesting about shading. My grandfather, one of my uncles and a neighbor all had vegetable gardens when I was a kid. They grew in rows in AZ dirt and never shaded and always had lots of tomatos. Go figure. Strawberries have all pretty much shrivled up, but do show new growth on some. Might have over watered. The guage showed they were pretty moist this morning. Moved all the tomatos out into the full sun today and gave them a good drink. The plastic pots seem to be keeping soil temps within reason. I know glazed pottery pots will really cook roots when it gets really hot and the sun is allowed to shine on them all day.

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