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Reflecting Sunlight?

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Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  EggplantWizard on 12/8/2012, 10:28 pm

Hey everyone! I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with reflecting sunlight onto your garden if it's placed in a poorly lit (shaded) area. I want to put Version 2.0 of my garden in an area where (currently) sunlight doesn't start hitting it until around noon. The reason being because I'm anticipating the intense heat and sun during the summer months. Right now it starts getting dark around 5:30 so most of my crops won't get full sun.

I've read that foil is a no-no because it can create hotspots. Mylar is a good reflector, but it seems on the expensive side. Flat white paint with a mold/mildew inhibitor, and white styrofoam are good, cheap alternatives.

How far away can I place the reflective board from my box before the reflected sunlight becomes ineffective?
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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  plantoid on 12/9/2012, 9:59 am

Perhaps see if you have a light meter reading device or light gradient display on your camera so you can get an indication of general levels around your gardens and recall what grows well & where . Then try the reflectors idea to see if you can replicate those levels on the darkside of the beds .

I've used a couple of big 8x4 foot sheets of 2 inch thick expanded white polystyrene foam sheet insulation before . It was easy to move and fix to some hammered in metal stake . I had it about five feet back from the green house wall so the reflected light reached the shaded tomatoes & peppers.

It seemed to work till the dam goat decided to head butt it to death and then trash the poly tunnel.
He made lovely stews when cooked in with the tomatoes & peppers Wink
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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  littlejo on 12/9/2012, 10:39 am

"It seemed to work till the dam goat decided to head butt it to death and then trash the poly tunnel.
He made lovely stews when cooked in with the tomatoes & peppers"

funny post


I live in SC, and the summer heat is real bad here. I put my garden under a large pine tree. Most of the garden only gets about 5 hrs of direct sun daily, but gets good 'light' . Does grass grow good in the area you want to plant your garden? If grass does not grow, then the garden will not grow, but if grass will grow, then your garden will thank you! The only plant that demands full sun and likes the heat is tomatoes. Maybe you could find a good place for them or look for a shade loving tomato.
Jo

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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  EggplantWizard on 12/9/2012, 11:02 am

LOL Plantoid! I guess your goat got what was coming to him. XD
Thanks for the input, I've been having trouble online finding someone who reflected natural sunlight rather than using HID's to grow their dope crops. Razz I'll look into buying styrofoam sometime next week.

Yeah grass does grow in that area. It's not totally shaded--actually it's near my wood fence which casts a shadow in that area until about noon. That area gets sunlight after that time. I want to grow tomatoes but I suppose I'll have to buy a Topsy Turvy.
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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  bnoles on 12/9/2012, 11:21 am

@plantoid wrote:
It seemed to work till the dam goat decided to head butt it to death and then trash the poly tunnel.
He made lovely stews when cooked in with the tomatoes & peppers Wink

That was just too funny my friend! My rib cage is hurting from laughing so hard.

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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  littlejo on 12/9/2012, 12:38 pm

Eggplantwizard,
Here are a few links for tomatos, some list some different varieties that might work.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/tomato/msg041125291528.html


http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4DMG/VegFruit/vegshady.htm


http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/tomato/msg0111231528522.html?15
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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  quiltbea on 12/9/2012, 12:55 pm

If there's even 4 or 5 hrs of sunlight, maybe red mulch will work.
Its supposed to "increase yields by 20% because it reflects far-red wavelengths into the plant's canopy, triggering photo-synthesis and stimulating rapid growth and development" according to Penn State Univ studies.
Has anyone tried it so we can hear whether that's true? I know they even sell those red tomato trays you place under the tomato plants. Anyone use those before?
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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  plantoid on 12/9/2012, 4:52 pm

That's interesting & very useful to observe QB .

Our dog loo area & turd digester set up is a10 x 4 foot 18 inch high small walled enclosure of red engineering brick surounding a 2 foot deep bed of 1/2 inch clean crushed red granite stone chips.
It is just in front of the sunny side of the glasshouse .

I hadn't thought of it as a heat reservior nor an infra red reflector .I'll try to pay greater attention to it in future and see if I notice any advantages from it..

EDIT ....Just after pressing send .....
It occurred to me that ordinary building sand on the floor will also make a heat & light reflector in areas around beds ,so will smoothed off poured concrete pathways .
You could also trial it cheaply by using old white bed linen and setting up a big sheet at an angle of 75% or so to see if there are any measurable light increases as per using a cameras light monitoring device .
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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  walshevak on 12/9/2012, 9:37 pm

Here in zone 8A we set up buckets of tomatos in both full sun areas and filtered shade areas. During the hottest part of the summer, the shaded areas produced the most tomatos. After the weather cooled off, the full sun area started to produce better but some of the plants had already croaked in the heat. Summer of 2011 all the tomatos croaked in the full sun. Late afternoon sun was brutal.

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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  elliephant on 12/10/2012, 6:10 pm

@EggplantWizard wrote:Hey everyone! I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with reflecting sunlight onto your garden if it's placed in a poorly lit (shaded) area. I want to put Version 2.0 of my garden in an area where (currently) sunlight doesn't start hitting it until around noon. The reason being because I'm anticipating the intense heat and sun during the summer months. Right now it starts getting dark around 5:30 so most of my crops won't get full sun.

I've read that foil is a no-no because it can create hotspots. Mylar is a good reflector, but it seems on the expensive side. Flat white paint with a mold/mildew inhibitor, and white styrofoam are good, cheap alternatives.

How far away can I place the reflective board from my box before the reflected sunlight becomes ineffective?


Most of my beds are 2x8s up against a wood fence where they get shade from the fence a good portion of the day. Doesn't seem to hurt growth, even during the winter. Right now I've got peas both there and in an area that gets more sun, and I haven't seen a difference in growth.

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Re: Reflecting Sunlight?

Post  EggplantWizard on 12/15/2012, 3:01 pm

Thanks for the info everyone. The sun seems to be hitting my box a bit more now since the days have gone by. I haven't tried my sunlight reflecting project yet. I guess I'll start planting some shade friendly crops and hold off on the others until the sun is more centered above the sky.
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