This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Last week we discussed how to grow vegetables in partial sun. This week we
learn how to protect vegetables from too much sun.
Curtis Swift is an extension agent at Colorado State University. He says
shading plants from intense sunlight in hot weather can increase production.
Plants can suffer damage when their temperature rises above thirty-two degrees
CURTIS SWIFT: "Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and okra and other members of
that family drop flower buds and young fruit when the plant temperatures exceed
thirty-two degrees C."
Plants can get sunburn. Yellow spots may appear on their leaves and fruit.
These areas can become thin and white as plant tissue is affected.
Curtis Swift says shade can help correct these problems.
CURTIS SWIFT: "What it does is, it actually allows the plant to give off
adequate water, which cools the tissue."
He suggests shading plants with bed sheets, shade cloth or brush -- in other
words, sticks and branches. Cut them about a meter long and stand them in the
ground on the south and west sides of plants.
CURTIS SWIFT: "Anything you can put over the plant. A lot of people can cut
brush at the edge of the field and stick that into the soil on the south and
west side of the plant and provide some shade."
Curtis Swift says if you use cloth sheeting, suspend it at least five
centimeters above the plants. That way there is enough space for bees to fly
around. Be careful not to cover plants too closely, which could trap heat and
defeat the purpose of shading.
People can also buy canopies to shelter their plants. Some canopies have
narrow strips of metal or wood to provide either sunlight or shade, depending on
the position of the sun.
Curtis Swift says shading works with field crops as well as vine crops like
squash. People sometimes plant shrubs or trees to shade their vegetables. But he
says tree roots compete with the vegetable roots. The veggies may not get enough
nutrients and water.
And that’s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn
Watson. Here are a few of your comments about last week's report on shade
growing. Ko from South Korea wrote: I can't imagine plants in the shade for
most of day without sunshine! That's a really creative idea.
Andy in Chile wrote: This is an interesting article. But you forget that
the shadow allows the growth of the fungi. And Slava in Croatia recalled:
Once I grew small tomatoes on a balcony under a roof. Sun shone there only
in the afternoon. In October the plants had only a few green tomatoes. I took
them inside behind the window and they had ripe fruits on Christmas and the
If you missed our report, you can find it at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Bob