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Monday, April 18, 2016

Tomato Plants Don't Need Shade Cloth

Q. My tomatoes have blossoms all over. When should I cover it with shade cloth?

A. Tomatoes do fine without shade cloth. Be careful using shade cloth because too much shade stops plants like tomatoes from flowering and producing fruits. Shade cloth is best used for leafy vegetables and herbs. Shade decreases bitterness and improves tenderness of leaves.
This is 30% shade. Leafy green vegetables and herbs grown for their leaves will benefit from shade cloth when grown under intense sunlight in the desert

            Many people use shade cloth which produces too much shade. Never use shade cloth meant for people when growing vegetables. Shade cloth for vegetables and herbs should not produce more than 30 or 40% shade.

            Generally speaking, grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, melons and other flowering vegetables without shade. Also include onions, garlic and potatoes on that list. Use shade cloth for lettuce, spinach, collards, basil, parsley and other leafy green types.

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