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Old May 15, 2017   #1
b54red
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Default Shade cloth

The last two summers I have noticed that my bell peppers have been getting a good bit of leaf scald from the sun when it gets really hot and clear. I set out a small bed of bell peppers about 5 days ago and they have been suffering from the intense sun and wind we have been having lately so I thought I would try shading them a bit. I may have put up too much shade but I'll give them a week under it and see how they are faring.

When my sister moved she and her husband didn't have a place for a garden so they gave me some of their stuff. One of the things that I got was some green light weight frost blankets. I cut one in half the long way giving me a couple of five by twelve foot pieces. I stretched it over the top of my support rack that I use to drop lines to support the plants. It looks like it may be too dense a shade but it may not be. Has anyone else used thin green frost blankets for shade cloth? I have used it this year as a greenhouse shade and my plants in the greenhouse have done well if a tad leggy but not too much. I needed the partial shade it created in the greenhouse to stop it from getting too hot because a tree that had been giving me afternoon shade had to be cut down. The result has been pretty good for the greenhouse but I'm not sure how it will work out in the garden.

Any insight on the benefits or problems with partial shading of bell peppers would be appreciated. I live only 80 or so miles from the Gulf and it gets extremely hot down here and pepper production is best during the early months or during the fall when it is a bit cooler. Once the intense summer starts the production slows dramatically as the problems with keeping the plants healthy increases.

Bill
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Old May 15, 2017   #2
brownrexx
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I can't comment on bell peppers but one trick I use to keep my peas producing longer when we get a hot spell up here in PA is to shade them and give them some extra water. It really helps. Peas are a cool weather vegetable and will burn up rapidly in the intense heat.

I wouldn't see why the same thing wouldn't be beneficial to your peppers.
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Old May 15, 2017   #3
JohnJones
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Bill,

I have planted some tomatoes and peppers in a new garden site at my nephews to try to get him interested in gardening. I thought I had picked a nice spot in an old horse pasture with plenty of sun exposure. It has turned out to be the gates of hell. 8 to 10 hours a day full sun has just scorched the transplants, even with temps rarely getting over 85. Now we have a week of 85 to 90 degree days coming and I have 4 remaining healthy and strong transplants ready to drop into this hellscape. I am going to have to try some form of shading to try to protect these last few arrivals.
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Old May 15, 2017   #4
slugworth
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Cheesecloth
You can add/remove layers as needed.
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Old May 15, 2017   #5
JohnJones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slugworth View Post
Cheesecloth
You can add/remove layers as needed.
Thanks, I'll give it a try
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Old May 15, 2017   #6
b54red
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slugworth View Post
Cheesecloth
You can add/remove layers as needed.
I have tried cheesecloth in the past but it had a tendency to rot to quickly down here and become a mess before the season was over. We have pretty intense sun, heat and humidity from early May through late October usually and sometimes longer. Old worn white bed sheets are pretty good but finding them at a cost that is reasonable is the big problem.

Bill
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Old May 15, 2017   #7
jtjmartin
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Bill:

I was lucky and picked up about 20 bed sheets at $1 each at Goodwill. They weren't all white, but all were pretty well worn - no one else wanted them.

Most are light enough to drape over concrete reinforcing wire (crw) cages, unhooked crw cages that form a half moon over planting beds, or even the cheap little "tomato" cages I use for peppers. I use them for frost protection and to shade transplants when needed.
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Old May 15, 2017   #8
Rockporter
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I've seen people using white sheer curtains over their beds to allow a little shade and a good amount of air to come through it too. The polyester dries fast in the rain as well.

Target is having a sale on them as we speak which ends tomorrow.

http://www.target.com/c/curtains-win...t_adv_xasd0002

I've seen them setup with a pvc pipe running through each end and set up on a tunnel design.

I've also seen them use shower curtains too.
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Old May 16, 2017   #9
whoose
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Google 40% shade cloth and buy a custom one to fit you needs, should be under $100.
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Old May 16, 2017   #10
Dewayne mater
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I use 50% white sunshade cloth on tomatoes. When you walk under it in the sun, it is like going from sun to shade in terms of how it feels temperature wise on your body. I figure the plants have a similar heat relief. I believe I get a couple of extra weeks of fruit set and healthier plants throughout, so it is well worth it to me. I haven't done it for peppers because my peppers are shaded in from 3 p.m. on and get heat relief that way.
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Old May 17, 2017   #11
b54red
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I am going to use the shade cloth on one bed and leave the other in full sun and see if there is any significant difference in production and quality of fruit. I am also curious to see if the ones under the shade cloth get leggy and tall. If that happens I will cut back on the shade but until it does I will just watch and see.

I watched some videos on YouTube on pruning peppers that has me interested in another experiment. They cut the peppers off just below the first main fork and then allow the side shoots to grow giving the plant a stouter growth pattern and according to them better production on a sturdier plant. I think I will go out in the morning and cut a few of mine off in both beds and see if it makes a big difference. I have more than enough plants set out this year to do a little experimenting so why not?

Bill
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Old May 17, 2017   #12
PhilaGardener
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Interesting experiment - maybe worth it's own thread? It will be interesting to see how that turns out!
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Old May 17, 2017   #13
b54red
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I went out and cut off three or four plants in each bed and some of my hot peppers as well to see how it affects them. If it works it should make a big difference with my cayenne type pepper plants as they usually get tall and scraggly. I would love them to be shorter and more bushy. I may have just ruined about a dozen plants but I am planting at least a dozen more in the next week or two.

Bill
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Old May 17, 2017   #14
pecker88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoose View Post
Google 40% shade cloth and buy a custom one to fit you needs, should be under $100.
Agree.

I got mine to cover my 15x30ft greenhouse from greenhousemegastore. Any shade % you want, different color options, custom made, shipped to your door. It will last several seasons if you take it in over the winter.
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Old May 18, 2017   #15
Starlight
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Bill... Like you I have had terrible time with sweet peppers. Forget who it was now, but it was a TV'er who said to shade the sweets. I have two types of shade cloth. One is big 10' x 20' pieces of material like cheesecloth. The other house I shaded with heavier cloth. That cloth is from where I gathered the material that goes around one of them big trampolines that's supposed to help keep kids safer. Guess they didn't work cuz folks keep throwing them out. So far both types have done well for the sweets. For the first time I have lots of blossoms and looks like I'm actually going to have some fruit. : )

I moved most of mine to the darker shade cloth cuz darn electric company came through and all the lines cut all the trees back to almost nothing and now all my plants were getting way to much sun. I argued for two days with them not to cut limbs below power lines. No need too and when my back was turned they snuck in with a small truck and clipped away. grr.

Good luck with your experiments and your peppers.
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