OUR STANDARD SHADE-HOUSE
WHY HAVE A SHADE-HOUSE?
We live inland from Bundaberg and our climate is sunny and
very dry. Summers with their hot dry winds can create very
harsh conditions in which to grow vegetables.
So we built shade-houses to protect our vegetables.
A fully enclosed shade-house:
· reduces heat stress and protects against
· reduces wind strength,
· minimises impact of wind-driven heavy rain,
· keeps kangaroos, wallabies, hares, rabbits,
birds and other wild life out, and
· keeps the bigger insects out.
The latter means less damage from insects and a fair level of
protection from insect-born diseases.
Our standard shade-house is 6.05 m long, 4m wide and 2.4 m high at the centre. We designed it to minimise waste.
The length is determined by the battens which are 6.05m.
The width and the height are determined by the width of the shade-cloth. Two lengths of 3.6 m wide plaved length-wise cover the shade-house with some overlap in the centre.
The four arches are held in place by starpickets with exactly 1 m above the ground. The 50mm diameter poly-pipe is cut to exactly 7.15 m lengths; these are pushed over the pickets.
The rigour of the structure comes from the battens and the starpickets. The structure is flexible and has survived near-cyclonic winds.
(NB The beds are best made before closing in the ends.)
WE ONLY USE 30% SHADE CLOTH.
30% shade cloth does not 'feel' to humans like giving much shade, but humans aren't plants. Plants react differently.
Heavier shade stretches the plants and causes poor growth.
We started with 50% shade cloth but have replaced that by 30% shade cloth with much better results. Many other people have done the same for the same reason and with the same improvements in plant growth.
PURPOSES OF OUR SHADE-HOUSES
We built two of our shade-houses specifically for Wicking beds. (Click here for our Current Layout of beds in a shade-house.)
These raised beds within fully enclosed shade have made it practical to grow vegetables almost year round. It requires minimal labour or discomfort and gives optimal water use.
We have grown crops organically throughout most of the last eight summers, including last year's flooding rains.
We build a third one specifically for herbs grown in wicking boxes standing on tables. That one is open at one end, the other end abutts another shade-house.
Friends have build shade-houses to protect potplants and seedlings.
WHAT TO GROW IN A SHADE-HOUSE?
Almost all small annuals grow well in shade houses, but large ones such as pumpkins and melons will take over the whole area. We have grown lettuce, raddishes, beetroot, peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, parsnips, turnips, parsley, leek, shallots, onions, tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, kangkong and more. The range of herbs is almost unlimited.
Success as always depends on the amount of attention and care we give, which has not always been optimal. While growing in wicking beds inside shade-houses is much more robust, plant nutrition and insect control are still important.
Very small insects can become a problem and need attention.
EASY GROW VEGETABLES . NET