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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:48 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:11 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Flower Mound,TEXAS
Live in North Dallas and have raised beds that have produced a bounty of lettuces, chard, kale, and spinach this Fall-Winter season. The family has grown to love the fresh salad fixings and wants to try and keep it going thru the hotter months.

In addition to the tomatoes, peppers, etc I want to plant this Spring, I want to dedicate a couple of beds to a new crop of greens (lettuces, chard, etc). These beds are pretty much full sun in the Spring and Summer, so I know I need to combine the use of heat-tolerant plants with possibly the use of a shade cloth mounted over my 4x4 beds.

I've been researching heat tolerant seeds in the lettuce, chard, and general greens family. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Also, if I do build some makeshift shade tube/frames, what blocking percentage should I look for in the shade cloth? Again, the beds are in a full sun area and I want to grow thru Spring and Summer if possible. So, if I need to change cloths to increase protection in the Summer months, I'm fine with doing that.

Any help much appreciated.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:21 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 1:52 pm
Posts: 2017
Location: Dallas,TEXAS
It is normal for tomatoes to shut down production in July and August. At that time, cut them back a bit (if they look healthy) or replant for a fall crop. Shade cloth is not necessary if you plant the proper veg at the right time.

Texas Certified Nursery Professional
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 144
Location: Arlington, Texas
I hope you're successful at what you've described. I will admit, however, that I'm skeptical.

We have tried brussel sprouts (from seed, as a fall crop) and they suffered miserably in the hot fall days -- even the late fall days when the days are bright and sunny and temps up in the high 70s.

Also, I planted "brite lites" swiss chard last spring (early in the spring) and -- even with shade covering -- it struggled along, drooping, being eaten with beetles, until I finally pulled it up, put it in a pot, and put it in a mostly shade location. It continued to struggle there.

Since we've had these experiences, I have to wonder if you're not going to have an even harder time going into a season where the weather is getting warmer, not cooler.

That said, is there some reason you can't leave your swiss chard alone and let it grow into/through the spring? The white chard has done wonderfully well in full sun on into summer with huge leaves, nearly 2' long!

We have swiss chard growing right now (both white and "brite lites") and it's doing great. Kale, too. We are going to leave both in the ground -- without doing shade cover on it -- until they show signs of stress, then pull them up. We hope the kale will last into at least April and possibly May, depending on the weather and, as I said above, the swiss chard should go longer than that.

If you decide to leave your s.chard and kale in place, make sure they are well mulched as the weather starts warming. That will help them greatly to tolerate the warming temps.

Happy Gardening!

God speed!
Take time to stop and smell the flowers!
(or... as my ladybug refrigerator magnet says
"take time to stop and eat the flowers!" :D)

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