As you rev up for another round of warm-season veggies, newly planted seeds and seedlings may get more sun than they can handle. Block or filter light to young plants by putting shade covers to work.
Match the type of shade covers you choose to the plants’ needs. For example, old lampshades make great sun bonnets for widely spaced baby basil, but peppers that grow into dense bushes will do better with a tent-like shade screen secured above the plants.
Here are four simple ways to shelter young veggies from too much sun.
Make Shade For Seedlings:
- Keep beans and other crops seeded directly into soil moist after planting by placing lumber or cardboard over germinating seeds. Check daily. As soon as seeds sprout, move the boards next to the seedlings to help maintain soil moisture and keep weeds at bay.
- Cover small seedlings of basil, dill or other herbs with an empty flower pot for three days. They root quickly when shielded from the sun.
- Use window screening for shading and keeping out grasshoppers, squash bugs and other large, hard-to-manage pests. Cut screening material and secure with staples to make cones or cylinders that protect individual plants. Or staple window screening over a lightweight frame attached to raised beds. Window screens secured to stakes also do a great job filtering strong sun.
- Provide shade cover over peppers and tomatoes to reduce sunlight by about 30 percent. A double thickness of row cover attached to high hoops or stakes works, or you can make a custom shade cloth from an old cotton sheet.