People are always asking me how I grow anything in the desert. I always find that hysterical, while I have learned that it is tough for many I have found with a little planning and extra care many of my plants do extremely well. My heat resistant plants such as Armenian Cucumbers thrive in the heat. And for my plants that need a little more protection I use shade screens to give them some added protection. The problem for both myself and others is many times people complain that merely draping sheets over their plants is hideous, well I couldn’t agree with you more. For myself my garden is my sanctuary and I love to look at it every morning with my coffee, and every evening when I get off work, in the summers the added shade for the key garden really cools off my patio as well.
So in an attempt to find something beautiful to look at and that will function as both sun protection and a freeze protector in the winter. We decided to be proactive instead of waiting for the 100 degree days. The finished product had to be aesthetically pleasing to look at we decided to make Oma our test run. Armed with drill, bendable PVC (available in white, blue and red), and brackets we headed over the other day. Aesthetics is really important to Oma, she will pull plants with to much “burn” on them and like myself goes crazy when there is too much “brown” in her garden.
Oma has (4) 6X6X1 garden beds. The original design for Sarina’s idea was 3X6X1 beds. The bendable PVC was an amazing idea however we soon realized that they could not withstand the weight of the sunscreens and rain water. (While AZ is typically a “dry” heat we also get heavy amounts of rain in August.) So we decided to utilize what we had in the backyard. We used PVC pipe that my mom had used many times before when constructing her plastic greenhouses for the winter. She had numerous pieces and “couplings” in her shed. We decided to support the middles with ‘T” couplings and have the bendable PVC go through them. This would allow us to raise certain sections to accommodate what was already planted in the beds.
Eventually Oma will paint the middle PVC posts and sew the shades so they will slide. So she can position them for their own needs.
Temporarily we just used clothespins to hold them in place for the photo shoot.
Finished Painted Frames
New Summer Shades!