|Hailstorms are every gardener's fear...and nemesis!|
The hail cloth I selected provides 13-15% shade and can be obtained from greenhousemegastore.com (but there are other businesses that sell it). The hail cloth has a somewhat open weave that allows air movement and rain to penetrate it while keeping even small hail out.
|Close-up of the hail cloth available from greenhousemegastore.com; this cloth provides 13-15% shade and protects plants from small hailstones|
It can be easily cut with scissors and comes in any length. Keep in mind that the cloth will shrink over the first season so cut large enough in anticipation of the shrinkage.
|Jon's raised bed with hail cloth in place.|
Above is my large, raised bed with a frame to hold the hail cloth about 4’ above the center of the bed. The frame is PVC and each vertical piece fits over rebar imbedded in the raised bed. A wood strip on each side was added for strength. To keep the hail cloth from blowing off the frame, PVC pipe (lying on the ground) with a 3-4’ piece of rebar (for weight) sits on the raised bed frame. Two vertical pieces of wood (on each end) was added to keep the PVC pipe from falling off the frame (see below).
|PVC, rebar, and wood hold the hail cloth in place|
Hail cloth can be draped over any sort of structure, even tomato cages and will last multiple seasons. If you haven’t tried hail cloth, give it a try as it’s great insurance against unexpected hailstorms.