Welding Tarp...

chickencoupeAugust 13, 2012

as shade cloth?

So, Larry: Okay, so I told Bill, my husband, what I needed for the tender new seedlings in this gawd awful sunshine and I DID mention using BLANKETS as shade cloth but I guess he considers utilizing welding cloth a tad easier because of the rings around the edges (for the life of me I cannot think of what those are called, right now) making it easier to tie up to stakes and also survive the winds around here. I cannot complain as it couldn't have been done without him. I suppose to ask a mechanic to provide shade cloth is going to come up with such an outfit.

lol But I'm hoping it'll work and they'll still get enough sun? (Taking it down would be ... like rude, so I'm wondering if I need start another row somewhere else. You, know.) I didn't quite understand but he said it will remove a lot of the heat and also some of the (sunburn causing) radiation. Might be good for some tender lettuce or something? I plan on taking it down when the little babes get enough true leaves and can soak up more sun. By then it should be (Ya hear me mother nature?) cooler and wetter.

Okay, I wanna add this: I am SO excited and it's nothing really unusual except for a newbie like me. I worked so hard amending the soil this spring prior to planting and that darned clay is so tough. Those tomato plants and sunflowers I planted in spring were really the first effective gardening. After they died out I just tilled it all under a few weeks back. SO, the soil has been amended and utilized (especially by the sunflowers). But NOW ... WOW!! It's loose and pliable and actually LOOKS like garden dirt though much grass is still hanging on.

So, Dawn, you were right about my soil. It might be clay but it's some pretty darn good dirt and is reacting quite nicely to basic amendments. My spring broccoli plant is still standing tall amongst the clobber of grass growth in spite of not being watered all this time. I'm guessing that soil is adequately fertile.

And, grandmom, if it would just RAIN I'd plop some ugly cardboard atop and I think the worms would go nutso in that new loose pliable soil. Gollies, it was so much easier to work, amend and rake around just like I've seen in the youtube videos but not anywhere near as neat. I mean, it's so pathetic to watch these videos of expert gardeners with loose pliable and fertile soil neatly contained in these perfectly rectangular boxes with no evidence of grass or weed seed. They glide the rake gently over the surface with ease. You can almost envision angels in flight above the garden bed. It's ideal and motivating. Yet, when I'd venture outside to tend the same my dirt is rock hard even a shovel won't penetrate much and a rake... oh goodness.. I cannot "rake" anything but stab at the ground only to receive a resistance that shakes my entire body and some of my teeth loose.

But this is now very encouraging. I'm definitely going to plant sunflowers and beans randomnly and like crazy in the "yarden" section come spring. Wowzers those sunflower roots are powerful. Note: Dawn suggests sunflowers attract pest bugs so not great for production area in established garden. The pest bugs haven't located garden, yet. (Ooh, it's so good to type "garden" and it actually be true!)

So, it is official: a section of my Yarden is no longer a "yarden" but a real bon a fide GARDEN. Woohoo! In fact, it's so nice I'm thinking of adding worm dirt to a section and planting those finicky divas - carrots right in the ground **gasps** Heh, my luck they'd be the only ones to thrive under the welding tarp as shade cloth. Leave it to the mechanic.



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Bon, I have never heard of anyone using a welding curtain or tarp to protect plants. Some have grommets around the edges and some just hang in strips where you can walk through them, but all greatly reduce harmful ray that harm your eyes. So far I have not had any trouble with the sun. My green beans were slow to germinate and as soon as they did there were grasshoppers there to eat them. The hoppers have not bothered the summer peas like they have the beans. I dont have any Cole crops up yet. I planted 3 different kinds of broccoli Sat., none of it was new seed and may not come up. I have more seeds of different fall crops to plant, and have soil ready. The soil looks very nice.

I was very happy in not finding any rootknot nematodes anywhere in the north garden. I only have 2 or 3 tomato plants in the north garden left to pull, If no nematode damage is found I will think that I have done something right


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Grommet!! That's what they are. Handy little buggers. Well, leave it to Bill to come up with the unthinkable.

U know.. I just came in from outside and noticed the hoppers surrounding that area of the garden where they were not present before. doh!

Let's hope for no sign of nematodes! That would be awesome. I hope ya have some rain in your forecast.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Bon, I know that you cannot just take down the welding tarp after he put it up to shade the plants, but I do hope it is far enough away from the plants that there is good air flow or the tarp will trap hot air between the tarp and the ground and the seedlings will roast.

The reason we speak often of shade cloth is because it is precisely woven to allow in specific percentages of light. Plants cannot grow well if they are too shaded. So, with the tarp, I hope it isn't keeping them too shaded. In the absence of shade cloth, something more sheer like sheer curtain panels or even bedsheets would allow partial light filtration which is what you want....just something to file away for future reference. My strongest shade cloth is 50% so the plants still get half the light, and the one I normally use in the garden is 40%.

Clay gets a bad rap because of its propensity to compact and pack down and restrict root growth, as well as its tendency to bake hard as concrete and to hold water like mad after heavy rainfall. However, it is very, very fertile. All you have to do to make it better is to mix in compost and other organic matter to break it up so it doesn't compact so much. If all you ever add to it is chopped/shredded autumn leaves (I cut mine up by running the lawnmower over them) or grass clippings, it will show amazing improvement from one year to the next.

When we were looking for land to buy, I was adamant that I wanted clay and not sand. Sandy loam wouldn't have been bad, but there isn't much of that in our county...the soil tends to be either sugar sand or clay. It is a whole lot easier to improve clay than sand because clay is already so fertile--all you really have to work on is its friability and texture. With sand, nutrients are low so you have to add a lot more to it to improve it.

Rain? What is that?

Larry, That's great news about not finding nematodes. Seems like you may have taken care of that problem.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Thanks for chiming in on that, Dawn. Air flow crossed my mind, but I wasn't sure. I think I may be able to make some "adjustments" and improve things. hehe

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Bon, thanks for the rain wishes although I am in pretty good shape right now due to a resent rain and a broken water main in my front yard. I actually just came in from digging a ditch to divert the water from my sweet potato bed. I was afraid the excess moisture may damage my harvest. I was told the crew may be out Fri. to repair the water line. I would sure like to package some of this water up and send it to someone.

Dawn, this is the third time I have had to battle Rootknot nematodes in the past 25 years. I use compost in all areas, winter till and compost in one area and Elbon rye and compost in two areas, and so far all areas look good. I will know more when I take out my late summer crops.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 3:53PM
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