New Mexico shaded veggie garden

elladog(z10, SoCalif, Sunset 22)March 30, 2012

I just watched an episode of "Southwest Yard & Garden" on YouTube, in which they discussed the advantages of providing light shade over your veggie garden to protect it from intense desert sun. What I'm wondering is if this is also a good idea in cooler high desert gardens; say, those over 6000' elevation?

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lazy_gardens

Good question! I have no answer, but that was a really good question.

What is recommended for places like Taos and Santa Fe?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 6:37PM
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hellbound

full sun no shade it's not hot enough to warent shade so you want the full days sun. i'm an albuquerque native our chile grew in full sun.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:58PM
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rdr115

I'm near Albuquerque. It isn't the summer heat so much--and it gets brutally hot here--but the intense solar radiation combined with the heat and lack of humidity. The higher you go, the more intense the solar radiation, and at our latitude New Mexico is within the area of highest solar radiation in the United states. I don't shade everything in my vegetable garden, but I do use light shade for, among other things, the greens and for the tomatoes. And they do a lot better now than when I didn't. And, by the way, a lot of ornamentals that require full sun elsewhere, do better here with dappled shade or just a half day of full sun. I've noticed shading on backyard gardens in Albuquerque's north valley, too.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Jordana George

I was told by long time residents that some afternoon shade was good for full sun plants here in Socorro because the sun was so intense. I was growing a couple of large pots with bush zucchini and they were just wilted every afternoon. I recently moved them under a tree that shades them from around 3pm on and what a difference! I have fruit on the plant, new flowers, and no more wilting. I think I'm going to move the tomato pots over there, too, since I have much lower productivity on those plants than I should have.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:42PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

Yes, we have extremely intense sunlight in the Southwest, at all altitudes and I think more gardens fail for lack of shade than anything else. I have even my sunloving vegetables in the dappled shade of a mesquite tree.

I have tomatoes growing in subirrigated planters that I shade in two ways. I shade the planters themselves to even out temperature swings, and I provide a slice of shade over the plants to block the midday sun.

Jan

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:28PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

Yes, we have extremely intense sunlight in the Southwest, at all altitudes and I think more gardens fail for lack of shade than anything else. I have even my sunloving vegetables in the dappled shade of a mesquite tree.

I have tomatoes growing in subirrigated planters that I shade in two ways. I shade the planters themselves to even out temperature swings, and I provide a slice of shade over the plants to block the midday sun.

Jan

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:29PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

A lot of Southwest Yard & Garden was filmed in my part of NM, the southern end. We recommend afternoon shade for veggies esp. tomatoes. It's so hot and dry here, i.e. today it was 102, 4% humidity and breezy, that plants can't keep up with the moisture loss. For example, blossom end rot on 'maters in my area isn't caused by low Ca, it's caused by the plant not being able to take up enough water during the heat of the day. If you have your veggies in containers we also recommend shade and wrapping the pot to help keep the soil temp. down. Roots can cook.
Keep in mind that the info on most of the tags that come with the plants from the nursery is meant for gardens back East.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:22PM
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rdr115

My soil is concrete-like adobe clay and since attempting to amend the soil on a large scale in a place where it doesn't rain is futile, to say nothing of being quite beyond my budget, I do a lot of container gardening. Any place where I have to have containers sitting in the sun all day, I wrap them with aluminum foil. I've tested this and have found it makes a significant difference. Sure, what with much of the vegetable garden covered with white sheets and containers elsewhere wrapped in aluminum, the place looks like a bunch of bedouins and visitors from space are having a powwow. But it works.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 12:37PM
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stompoutbermuda(Z8DesertSunsetZ11)

I have had success in digging a trench and putting container plants down inside the trench in a shaded place. Ive done this with plants I couldnt resist at the nursery, but it was just too hot to plant them in their permanent place.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:07AM
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pksinan(z7NM)

Very informative, thanks for the question and great answers. I am new to Albuquerque, having gardened most of my life back east. This year was experimental for me. My soil is not yet where it needs to be and I am having a lot of problems that I believe are related to environmental conditions. I WILL DEFINITELY HAVE SHADE STRUCTURES in place by next Spring. My best tomato plants are the ones near a fruit tree getting half a day of shade.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:57PM
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