Sun shelter mock up

Rusty Shackleford

Automotive M.D.
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So I am planning to fabricate a sun shelter for my deck. It's full sun deck and my plants get fried. So my plan is to use some recycled skids and screening to make it. Here is my quick sketch as well as a picture of my onion growing from planting a complete onion. Thoughts?
 

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bczoom

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Mt thoughts are:
You can't grow chives from an onion. You're growing an onion from another onion. Onions love the sun. If they're wilting or drying up, water them more (but have good drainage). Onions needs lots of water.

If you do want to protect from direct sun, I'd just build a little frame out of 2x2's or 2x4's then cover with cheese cloth. Complete, it weighs about 20 pounds for the size you're picturing so it can easily be moved or removed.
 

Rusty Shackleford

Automotive M.D.
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I'm planning on putting many plants in though that do not like sun full time. I figured the screening could do nicely for filtered sun, as I have a roll that I can't use for windows. I had read a couple articles saying that the onion wouldnt grow mor onions this way, that it would grow chives, and from the chive flowers, onion seeds. Not sure how credible that was. I have had this under a plastic shelf out of sun for most of the day and seems to be doing good. That's another thing i had confilcting results on, wethere or not onions liked full sun. I always thought they did, but saw several articles saying part sun, so I don't know. It's the internet, what can you expect LOL
 

bczoom

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Do you have other places to grow your shade plants (or make this thing and put your onions elsewhere)? BTW, onion beds should be moved around from year to year or you need to make sure you re-fertilize that area annually.

Use as little wood as possible. Just enough to keep the screen in place. E.g. if you're using 4" wide boards on top, when it rains, the plants under that 4" area won't get water.

Chives are in the onion "family" but it doesn't go from onion to chive and back to onion.

Your best bet for onions is to grow from seeds and start really early indoors (like January). Myself, I let the nursery grow from seeds and I get the small plants when I'm ready to put in the ground. Our onions are already harvested for the year. You can sometimes get a second planting in but that's hit-or-miss since they like sun but not the heat of July/August.

Here's an easy-read on onions. http://www.almanac.com/plant/onions
Chives are on the bottom of the page.
 

Rusty Shackleford

Automotive M.D.
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Unfortunately there is nowhere i can go where we are for natural shade, and no inground planting available. Problems with apartment living. Nothing I can do about it for another year or so.
 

bczoom

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I'd go ahead and build your shelter. If your sun wanting plants don't like it, oh well. Then just go buy a bag of onions for $4.
BTW, besides onions, what are you putting in there? If it's only the size of a pallet, that's not a lot of space (maybe 9 sq/ft). I planted about a gross of onions and that needed about 50 sq/ft.
 

Rusty Shackleford

Automotive M.D.
SUPER Site Supporter
I'd go ahead and build your shelter. If your sun wanting plants don't like it, oh well. Then just go buy a bag of onions for $4.
BTW, besides onions, what are you putting in there? If it's only the size of a pallet, that's not a lot of space (maybe 9 sq/ft). I planted about a gross of onions and that needed about 50 sq/ft.

Whatever I can fit, really. There will be plenty of room for the sun lovers outside the shelter. I was thinking two pallets on the wide side.
 

bczoom

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With the relatively small space, I'm I guessing correctly you're sticking mainly with herbs?

Be careful with some (e.g. mints), they spread out quickly and can take over. What I do with those that I don't want to spread, I pot them or put in cinder blocks so their roots can't spread.

If you're going to leave it there all winter, here's an idea. Put in a winter crop. Considering your size, I'm thinking garlic. For our area, it's normally planted Labor Day weekend and you pull it the following Spring, around Memorial day. The timing is good since you want your summer plants around those same weekends due to frost possibilities. If you are considering garlic, let me know and I can give you more details.
 

Rusty Shackleford

Automotive M.D.
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I have seeds that will become seedlings like I used to have but got fried by the sun. Baby trees, basically just seeing what I can get to sprout up, something to do with stuff that normally gets thrown away.
 

bczoom

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GARLIC

Go to a seed site and pick the kind of bulbs you would want based on desired taste. Pick one that's suited for cold winters. I like something like a German Hardy.

Till your dirt up nicely. I use a lot of manure and hit it with a decent dose of Rock Phosphate which they like. They do need nutrient rich soil.

Break your bulb(head) apart and do your planting around Labor day. Plant the cloves about 4-8" apart (with the root end down and pointy end up).

Do normal weeding.

Some people say to put mulch over the plants for the winter but I never do and have never had a problem.

In the Spring, watch for the "scapes". These are the center chutes that come out of the center of the plant. They're conical in shape as opposed to the flat leaves. As they grow, they'll start to curl and eventually start to flower. Just at the point they start to flower, pinch off the scape down low where it meets the leaves. DON'T THROW AWAY THE SCAPES! They're delicious. You can eat them raw or saute or whatever you want. What I'd recommend is you eat the first one raw. Start at the bottom and eat your way towards the top. As you get closer to the top, you'll find it getting "chewy" and "stringy". When you get to that point, you stop and throw away from there to the top. You'll then have the idea of where to stop on the rest of them.

While you're harvesting the scapes, leave the rest of the garlic to grow (at least several weeks). It's now recognized no flower = push everything back into the bulb so this is good for their size.

The leaves will start to brown, starting from the top and working their way to the bulb. When about 2/3 or 3/4 of the leaves are brown, it's time to harvest the garlic. Carefully pull the bulbs out, leaving the leaves attached.

While sitting at a picnic table with your garlic and a pair of scissors, cut off the stem about 10-12" above the bulb. Try to be consistent on how much you cut off of each. Trim the roots and peal off the outermost layer of skin to get rid of the dirt. Sometimes I cheat and just rinse down the garlic but that's not preferred as you're going into the drying phase.

OK, now, depending on whether you bought soft or hard neck.

Hard neck:
Take about 10-15 of your bulbs and tie them together so they'll hang as a group. Hang them up in an area that's dry and has decent ventilation. Repeat those 10-15 groupings for all your garlic. Let them hang dry for a couple weeks. You can then take them down and cut off the stems. Store your bulbs in a moderate/dry climate.

Soft neck:
Instead of 10-15 hanging together, use less and braid the stalks. Again, take a string and hang them up for a couple weeks. They're then ready for whenever you need them but leave the stalks and braid in place. Just cut off a bulb when you need one. I don't care for the braiding or storing so I stick with hard necks.
 

bczoom

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PS. Garlic likes sun so don't put it under that screen in the fall or spring. In the winter, I don't think that cover would matter.
 
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