What is Shade Net?

Using Shade Net to support Beans.

What is Shade Net?

Shade net is a light knitted or woven polyethylene material that provides plants and people with sun protection. Shade net fabric comes in densities, or percentages, ranging from fifty to ninety percent to suit the particular requirements of different varieties of plants, flowers, and crops in your garden. It is used in conjunction with greenhouses, to cover hoop structures and in field use, such as windbreaks, silt filters, and shade for terraces or patios. Shade net is rot and mildew hardy, will not become brittle over time and is water penetrable. It offers excellent ventilation, improved light dispersion and keeps the interiors of shade house structures cooler. Consequently, this netting system will help to decrease water expense by reducing the evaporative effect of the sun in the warmer seasons. Installing shade netting is quick and straightforward, as is removing it during the colder months.

Shade house installed on the crops fields
Shade net not only provides sun protection to plants but also people.

Using Shade Net as Support Netting for Beans

In addition to using Shade Net to protect your beans from the elements, it can also utilize itself as support netting for beans. Long beans, in fact, any climbing legume crop, will have difficulty clinging to slippery stakes such as bamboo. By stretching a piece of the netting material low down – near to the ground between the stakes – the beans will have something to cling and grow too. This stretched piece of shading net only needs to be placed from ground level to a comfortable harvesting height. The tendrils of the plant will intertwine through the netting, and you will not need to focus on training the seedling to grow up a stake. The seedling can naturally follow the sun’s path and grow anywhere along the net.

Shade cloth placed on a garden
You can protect your crops with the shade avoiding damage from the sun

The Best Shading Net Structure for Protecting and Supporting Bean Crops

Utilize Shade Net and flexible poly pipe or stakes to combine protection and support for the bean crop. Plant your beans in rows as usual. Create an arch using the poly pipe or stakes that will cover two rows of the bean crop. Determine the length of the stakes or poly pipe by calculating the depth each arch needs burying for support plus the internal height of the dome plus the width of two rows. Create enough arcs to be able to place them every four feet, or 1.2 meters. Drape the shading material over the spans and fix with tent pegs or similar into the ground down each side. You can extend the spans four feet beyond the ends of the rows so that the plants nearest the openings still have protection. If garden space is an issue for you, you can end the archways level with the end of the rows and hang shade net at each end that acts as doors.

Creating a structure like this will serve two purposes.

  1. Protect your crop from harsh weather conditions, pests, and evaporation.
    1. Beans will cease producing about seven days after any hot weather that is over 90° F. When bean flowers become too hot they stop pollinating.
    2. If you live in a zone that typically has summer temperatures over ninety degrees Fahrenheit, your plants will need protection.
  1. The sides of the arches will act as supports for the bean plants to grow upon therefore reducing the need to stake each row separately.
    1. Erect the sides of the arch as close to the seedlings as possible so that they do not have to grow across the dirt before being able to climb the shade net.
    2. Depending on the bean variety you are growing, some beans will continue to grow up to the apex of the arch thereby creating shading and cooling effect as well for the rest of the plant.
Green shade net
The use of shade net on the crop will protect it from storms and strong cold.

The Benefits of Shade Netting to Your Bean Crop

Bean crops thrive when harvested continually. Consistent harvesting is the guaranteed method for a prolonged harvest. You should pick the beans at least every second day and you need to pull the beans before the pod’s bulge and fill up with seeds. When the seeds have finished growing inside the pods, it signals the plant to cease growing, which is something you do not want. Likewise, when pods become too big, they are not as tasty and tender as when they are young.

Using a shade net arch system over your bean crop will protect it from adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rains, early morning frosts, and burning sun. It will create a micro-climate within the structure that will ensure that your beans will thrive and produce a bumper crop. The mulch you use on the plant will not dry out as quickly as it does when not protected by shade net, therefore reducing your irrigation and mulching expenses.

An Alternative Use for Support Netting for Beans

One alternative that has become popular lately is to use shade net erected over the top of your crops and extending down the sides as in a greenhouse type of structure. Plant a row of corn with four of five bean plants at the base of each corn plant. The corn plant grows faster than bean plants so when the bean plant needs staking it uses the corn plant as a stake. One thing to note if you use this method, you can still stretch shade net between the corn stalks, up to a height of six inches, so that the bean shoots have something to grab. Once they reach above six inches, they will use the corn stalks as support. When the bean plants reach the same height as where the corn cobs sprout you will need to cut the bean plant back or train it in another direction, so they do not block light from the corn cob.

Shade Net
If shade net is used with tubes or polyethylene stakes to combine protection and support to the crops.