So here’s the pickle we’re in; our summers here regularly surpass 110 degrees, but I’d say we probably average around 108 or so until September at best. We’re often running our air conditioning well into October, when suddenly the weather will snap and for a time we’ll need neither a/c nor heat.
But the problem for my Square Foot Garden is going to be the blistering summer sun. Vegetable plants like a lot of sun, but to be frank, they will roast here. I think I’d like to save the veggie roasting for when we’re about to eat them, thanks! If we’re not careful I half expect to find popcorn laying about the yard and the ears of our corn bare to the cobs! LOL
So, we will need to build some sort of shade structure to protect our garden. We currently have only two, 4’x4′ boxes, and they are arranged about three feet apart, in a north/south direction.
At first I thought, build one big rectangular shade; not only would it shade the veggies, but it would shade us as we go about our business of tending and harvesting in the garden.I was envisioning something about seven to eight feet wide, and about twelve to fifteen feet long. However, a couple of factors are putting a dent in that idea.
One, we get some awful winds here sometimes – like last night… currently we have tarps covering the soil in the raised beds until we get stuff planted, and we were constantly checking on them and adding river rock to hold the tarps down. So, the bigger the structure, the more damage there could potentially be if it were to fly away in a wind storm. I picture it landing in a neighbor’s yard, in pieces.
Two, costs. So far, to get a large piece of shade cloth to cover both the gardens and provide a little extra shade on the sides, is going to cost right around $100 – JUST for the cloth (because it would have to be a custom size). Ack!
So now I’m wondering if I should just go with an arched design, specifically sized for each bed rather than encompassing both. But on the flip side of that, it would not provide any shade for US, so working out in the garden would be even worse than if it were shaded.
It’s not going to be a permanent structure (that is, not BOLTED to the ground), but we will probably use rebar and tie lines to keep it in place, unless I just use enough PVC pipe to cross over each individual bed in which case, it would sit inside the box and the sides of the box would hold the PVC in place…
I’m still trying to work out the pros and cons of each and decide whether to fork out the extra $ for a larger structure with potential to make working in the garden more comfortable for us, or go cheap and end up hating every second we step outside just to retrieve some veggies and make sure the soil has some moisture in it…. *sigh*
Any suggestions out there? The actual structure itself is either going to be entirely PVC (which is cheap and flexible), or electrcial conduit (stronger, but more expensive as it is priced by the foot), or a combination of both…