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Shade cloth

As discussed in the video, we use shade cloth primarily for spring crops. Keeping the area shaded makes tulips stretch for the sun (longer stems) and it keeps soil cool for our crops like ranunculus. Keeping the soil cool means they won't go into dormancy.

Here is a link to the shade cloth we use. There are different percentages and Bootstrap Farmer can guide you based on your zone and crop. Even though we are not a southern zone, we went with 50 percent for maximum heat reduction.

I also mentioned that we keep the shade cloth up on our tunnel throughout the summer for our lisianthus. Lisianthus seedlings/plugs need to be well watered and kept cool to take root. We typically plant later than most farmers (April works best for us as the ranunculus is finishing up blooming), and they appreciate the shade and cooler temps while they're getting established. We likely wouldn't have as much success planting this late without the shade cloth in place. It's incredibly easy to fry tender seedlings in the sun.

I didn't discuss how we attach the shade cloth because everyone's situation is different. We've done it using shade cloth clips and tying ropes into stakes in the ground. This was time consuming, so this year we opted to use wiggle wire. Wiggle wire is what is used to attach plastic to high tunnels, but it can be used in this instance as well. If you'd like to see some video tutorials on that process, let me know and I can make that a future lesson.

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