Monday, June 17, 2013

Simple Fix

Courtesy of

This funny looking fabric is called "shade cloth", and is essential, apparently, to keeping things slightly cooler in the hoophouse.  Since early spring, I've been tracking the daily high and low temperature in the hoop house via a remote thermometer sensor.  On a sunny day in late winter/early spring, it can peak about 130 degrees Farenheit.  In the summer, it is even higher. (Last year, the regular outdoor thermometer I had out there melted and fused itself, stuck above 150 degrees.)  On a cloudy day, unless it is very dark and overcast, it still reaches about 95 degrees.  Add some moisture, and you've got yourself a recipe for roasted plants and misery.

So, what's a gardener to do?  Well, I could plant some trees, but that would defeat the goal of providing a warm environment with southern exposure.  Luckily, someone somewhere had this same problem at some time, and developed a woven product that drapes over the hoophouse covering and blocks out 50% of the light--hence reducing the heat by a few degrees.  Today, a sunny warm day with a slight breeze, at 2 PM it is only 92 degrees in there.  Last week, on a similar day, it was 140!  So far, so good--but the true test will come in July, if we ever get one of those classic, 100+ degree days with no wind in this cool, damp season we are having.  The hoophouse looks interesting to have the cloth on there, but not too shabby.

Plus, I decided to plant peppers in there, and peppers looooooooooove the heat.  I may not be able to handle the resultant heat in my salsas, but they should grow very happily all summer long.

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