Shade cloth for plants is a real game changer here in South Central Texas where the heat and sunlight are oppressive in the summer.
We used shade cloth in our backyard in San Antonio for 20 years protecting our plants. Then we moved out to the farm in 2019. The sun is much brighter out here. There were no trees or buildings other than the few we put up and the plants were just dying in the heat. They really needed shade.
We put shade cloth up on five hoop houses in the back but we did not put any up in the front of the farm where customers can visit until 2022. In the summer of 2022, we built some little places to put plants, one by the high tunnel, one by my personal greenhouse in our fenced backyard, and one in the parking lot to house plants that are for sale. We also put shade cloth for plants up all over the front and sides of the farm and it has really helped our plants because it filters out a lot of the hot sun.
Good morning! It is hard to believe it is already Memorial Day. Our Farm Store is closed today so our team could have the day off, not to mention us. We hardly ever take a day off.
Today, our baby chicks are two weeks old. They are flying in the brooder and are getting big. By the end of this week, they should be fully feathered and ready to move out into the new little chicken house because it is summer and hot.
We will be enjoying the rest of our firehouse brisket which has been delicious. I will be making potato salad and peach cobbler to go with it today.
It is 7am and cool at 69°.
Our Farm Store is closed today but you can still save 13% when you order seeds online here. You don't need a discount code. The 13% off will be calculated at checkout.
I made potato salad for David. I made bow tie pasta salad for Matt as I did not have any elbow macaroni. Matt will not eat potatoes. David doesn't like pasta. That took a while.
Then I cut up the beautiful peaches picked from our trees and made my first ever peach cobbler. Usually, I just make a pie. I tried and it came out pretty good. It tasted great!
We had a nice Memorial Day lunch and watched a Viet Nam War movie, Bat 21. It was good but nerve wracking.
Since early this morning, David has been getting hateful emails from a woman who ordered white lace flowers saying they did not grow. First, we don't even sell such a thing. David could not find any order for her under her name so he asked for the order number or a photo of the invoice. She kept emailing him back that our customer service sucks and she is leaving us negative reviews. Finally, she sent us her invoice. The invoice says "Johnny's Selected Seeds". David told her this and she said that is not true, even though she sent us the invoice. She insists that they are our seeds. Can you believe that?
The invoice has her name, a phone number for Johnny's as well as an email address for them. Instead, she chose to harass David all morning long on his day off knowing full well that her invoice does not say David's Garden Seeds®. He forwarded the whole mess over to Johnny's so they can take care of their customer. What is wrong with people?
While Matt was here, he noticed one of the gold Ameracauna hens is pecking everyone else. Her peeper glasses came off. Matt put more on her so she can stop pecking feathers out of everyone else. Some of the hens are so friendly. This particular Ameracauna is not.
This evening, around 6:30pm, we got some rain. Then I went out to put away the chickens. We didn't even get 1/20th of an inch but it sure sounded like a lot more. How disappointing.
Shade cloth for plants can be found online from several different companies. It can block anywhere from 20% up to 95% of sunlight from hitting your plants. This is a great product that we have used for many years. Down here in the Texas sun, it works hard and it lasts through quite a few seasons. We use snap clamps to hold the shade cloth for plants onto the PVC pipes. Sometimes, we have to screw the cloth into wood. We get a lot of wind here so we screw our snap clamps onto the PVC. Otherwise, those clamps blow off.
Knitted shade cloth lasts longer and is stretchy. Woven shade cloth does not last as long. We use the black knitted shade cloth for plants in various percentages.
Well, good morning. It is back to work for us. One of our previous employees started working with us again today for the summer. The two new employees from last week are off for the week due to something they told us about before they were hired so we shall see them next week. Another is ill so is at the doctor and, of course, some don't come in on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I am sold out of eggs this morning already. Can you believe that? There are still plenty of vegetables from our garden for you to buy for another couple of days. We have some green and purple bell peppers, rainbow carrots, and the Crystal White Wax onion left.
It ended up being a pretty busy day of customers. The last couple got here at 4:55pm. They were visiting San Antonio on business and said they rushed to get here. This was their last day as they leave at 5am tomorrow on a flight back to Michigan. We visited and I let them shop until 5:30pm. They were so nice.
So what is shade cloth for plants? It is a knitted or woven, durable, synthetic, mesh fabric that keeps a certain amount of sun off of your plants, protecting them from scorching in hot weather. You can buy it at different lengths and even different colors. It diffuses light and gives ventilation to overheated plants. The rain can go through the shade cloth to water your plants which is another nice benefit.
It controls the amount of ultraviolet light exposure that a greenhouse or a garden area gets. It provides partial shade for those plants that do not do well in full blasting sun like we get here in Texas. In the summer, you can take the plastic off of your greenhouse and cool it down some by putting shade cloth up.
Shade cloth for plants comes in large rolls as well as folded up with grommets on the edges.
Today was another of those very busy, hot, humid days. I played HR both yesterday and today getting paperwork from three new employees and sending it over to our accountant.
Then I was in the back watering when we had our first customer. Matt handled her as I did not even know. My phone did not go off. Internet is not that good out here. I checked on all of my animals and around 10am I went back to the store. In between customers, I worked on adding to our listings. We are adding companion planting information which should be helpful for people.
I also started writing a new article on lemongrass for the David's Garden Seeds® website. There is just too much misinformation saying that you can eat it and use the same to repel bugs. One kind you can eat or drink. The other kind is for bug repellent. You cannot use it interchangeably. David thought it was an important enough issue that we should clarify for gardeners. It is not finished yet.
Aluminet shade cloth for plants is a real thing, one we have not used but it does exist. So why would you want t use it? This is the perfect aluminum knitted shade cloth to cover your greenhouse in the summer as well as in the winter. The metal fabric reflects the sun's light away from the greenhouse instead of allowing it inside. It can make your greenhouse 10 degrees cooler by doing this. It is durable and light weight, and is designed to go under your greenhouse roof.
Good morning and Happy June. The sweet potato vines need to be planted this morning. Many of the leaves on them are dead but they have all grown new roots in water. It is humid and 72° but they need to be planted.
I went out at 7:30am and got all 24 of my sweet potato vines planted in the same row with my potatoes. The roots are good on all but three. I planted those three anyway. Since I received them last week, all 24 roots have been in water, trying to get the roots to grow. The leaves were all withered away on most of the slips. They looked so sad.
Since it is June, I know soon it will be too hot for them to grow but we will give it a try. The company I bought them from would not mail them out. Honestly, they should have been in the ground here in April but I could not find any local. I should have waited and got them from Hoss Tools like I did my potatoes because they shipped them out much sooner. Back in February when I ordered them, Hoss did not have them for sale yet.
Because the potatoes and sweet potatoes are planted way out back in the orchard, they will not be shaded. There is no shade cloth for plants back there.
I just went to the house and found the rest of the grapes all picked. We still have tons in the house and a lot of these are green. I have no words right now.
We have a $3200.00 oven/microwave combo that came with our home. Once before, we had it serviced as the microwave part would not work. Now, for the past several months, the oven won't turn off so we have to turn it off at the breaker box. Even then, when we turn the breaker back on, the oven sometimes comes back on. It is a bit scary. So this afternoon, David took it all apart. The oven door has found a new home in my living room on a chair.
We have been harvesting a lot. Right now in our Farm Store refrigerator, we have some carrots, yellow squash, Crystal White Wax onions, seedless mini grapes, and a variety of cherry and roma tomatoes. $1.45 for a small bag full. The bell peppers are now gone and there are not many carrots left so if you want to try some, come on over quickly.
Today, the Leghorns are eight weeks old. Now, I believe, they are considered "teenager" chickens. Soon, we will move them to a temporary cage inside the big chicken coop until the older hens get used to them. Then, hopefully, we can put them out and they will get along for the most part and not peck each other. We will use that little coop for a quarantine chicken hospital, like you are supposed to have if anyone gets sick, etc.
Last year, our seedlings for sale were placed on the Farm Store porch, being exposed to the strong sun all day long. They kept drying out, no matter how much water we used on them. They got to looking so bad that no one would be them anymore. We took them down and planted what was left.
One day, we were out shopping at another plant place that is locally owned. These people are smart. They had their plants for sale under shade cloth for plants. David was shopping and I was sitting in the truck observing. When David got back in the truck, I told him to look. He saw the shade cloth and I said this is what we need in the parking lot and back by our greenhouses. We made it happen for all of our plants and this year, we are selling thousands of plants. We don't have too many left but they look good.
Well, it's Friday and the oven door is still in my living room. Of course, the oven is now off of warranty so I think David is going to try to fix it himself. This morning, David threw some grapes into the juicer. A whole bowl full of grapes made a glass of grape juice.
I went outside and got the new bigger chicken coop ready for the babies. It is way too hot in the shed where the brooder is so they need to be outside. I filled the coop and the run with wood shavings for babies. I put clean water inside and in the run as well as food and grit. By the time I was done it was after 8am and I was drenched. I went inside and got ready for work. We will move them over sometime today.
Then everything in the brooder has to be cleaned again and put away. It will smell a lot better in that shed by this afternoon for sure. I think the chicks will be much happier outside and in the fresh air and sunshine. They are flying around in that galvanized tub.
Matt and I moved all of the baby chicks outside to the new chicken coop and they hated being moved. Once we put them in the play yard, they all went inside the coop and, as far as I know, they are all still huddled up inside. Of course, all it will take is for one curious chick to step outside and they will all follow.
While we were moving the chicks in groups of six or so, Foghorn Leghorn, our eight week old resident rooster started crowing. Matt says he heard Foghorn crow yesterday on their eighth week birthday, but I heard it about four times before noon today. It is almost a full blown cock a doodle do, but not quite.
Inside our kitchen, David took the oven apart more and discovered the problem. It will cost about $500 for this part and we just don't have that now. Some $7,000.00 tax payment is due this month so our money will be going there instead of fixing our oven. A regular oven with a stove is about $1200 now and the oven/microwave combo is $3200.00 so the part would be the cheapest way to fix it. David put the thing back together and stuck it back in the wall with Matt's help. We can bake but we will have to keep a careful watch on it and turn it off at the breaker box.
I wasn't able to make any baked goods for today but, so far, we have not had one single customer so that is okay.
Matt and I tried to put in the new UV light in the pond filter. We got it in but it doesn't light up and now the filter is leaking water out of the top. I am really getting sick of trying to do things that don't quite work out.
We are expecting a troop of Girl Scouts from San Antonio tomorrow morning for a farm tour. We are ready. I even have gift bags made up for them. David will be teaching a class at the end of the tour. If your group would like to schedule a tour, email David at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of a tour is now $3.00 per person (kids under three are free) or $5.00 per person with the class on how to plant. In order to have the class, we must know in advance so we can prepare.
We highly recommend that if you live in a super warm climate to use shade cloth for plants to protect them. Your plants will be happy to get a break from the sun instead of being burned by the sun. They will grow bigger and taller and put on fruits quicker than those that are almost dying in the unforgiving heat.
Right after midnight, it started pouring. We got quite the downpour complete with thunder and lightning. This morning, everything is wet. The baby chicks are fine and were spread out a bit but sort of huddled. They look so cute in such a big space.
I went out and got them all fed and watered along with all of the other animals. I have two dozen fresh eggs this morning as well as some grapes, carrots, squash, and onions for sale. Come on over.
This morning, Girl Scout Troop 38 will be touring the farm and taking a class. We have a group of 15 plus two regular customers have decided to go on this special tour as well. It is a very friendly group and we are excited to have them here. We have had home school groups before and garden clubs but they are our first Girl Scout Troop.
I made a roast chicken and vegetables for Svengoolie. We had a good time with the movie, Man Made Monster. I made a grocery order to be picked up tomorrow.
Around 10pm, it poured along with thunder and lightning.
We are located in South Central Texas and we normally use 40% shade cloth to protect our plants. Sometimes, we use a higher number like 50 or 70 percent, depending on what we are trying to protect. He had 70% shade cloth up on top of my greenhouse but changed it down to 40% because my seedlings were not getting enough light. They did much better with the 40%. In fact, during the last week of March, we emptied the greenhouse completely out. It is warm enough, hot most days, for the plants to do well outside.
Good Sunday to you. It was a good day. I got all of the animals fed early and then got ready for church. After church, we went into Devine and picked up a grocery order. We came home, put everything away and had leftover chicken from last night for lunch.
This afternoon, it got cloudy and windy and it rained. I got all of the animals taken care of and put away. I think the rain may have stopped. So we have been getting rain for three days in a row which is awesome.
When I was growing up in upstate New York, we did not need to protect our plants from the sun. Why not? Because most days, the sun is not super strong the way it is in the great state of Texas. We always grew a garden with no problem. It rains a lot there and when the temperature hits 90°, they consider it a heat wave. When it hits 90° here in Texas, it is a summer cold front. When we lived in Michigan and Colorado, we had no need for shade cloth in either of those places. There are plenty of trees up North for shade and it is just cooler. So if you live up North, you probably won't have much use for shade cloth for plants.
Down South is a different story. Shade cloth was originally created in Australia to keep the intense heat and sunlight away from growing plants. We have intense heat here in the Southern USA, not as intense as Australia, but it is still pretty bad.
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