After you have watered your newly planted bed, in hot weather you may want to consider covering this area with 30-percent shade netting from approximately 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Use shade netting that is 3 feet wider and 3 feet longer than your growing bed, so the netting can drape down around the edges to provide shade on the sides as well as the top. We generally insert 3-foot-long pieces of 1-inch by 1-inch wood on a 45-degree angle into the soil at the four corners of the bed and every 5 feet along and perpendicular to the sides. Headless nails are hammered part way into the top end of the sticks so the shade netting can be held in place. At 5 p.m. we unhook the netting from the long eastern side of the bed and hook its edges over the nails on the other side several times to secure the netting and keep it out of the paths and the bed. We reverse this process at 10 a.m. the next day. Make sure the nails do not jut into the path where they can be a hazard to you.
We also use shade netting to protect newly transplanted grains in the fall and winter from birds. In this case, we leave the shade netting on for 10 days and use long pieces of 5/8-inch
rebar to hold down the edges of the netting so birds cannot enter the growing area. We adjust the 1-inch by 1-inch sticks so the netting edges lie on the ground with the rebar along the edges. After 10 days, the shade netting is removed because at this point the plants are less tasty and, therefore, are not attractive to the birds.
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