What is a Shade House?
Shade houses are simple structures built for the purpose of blocking sunlight and heat in hot and tropical regions of the earth to facilitate increased food production. A shade house built by Sustainable Food Production is a tunnel type framework made of schedule 40 PVC and covered with a shade cover. The dimensions are 18 feet wide by 40 feet long. The shade cover we use is bright white, 40% sun block and UV treated. The ends are covered with 1 inch galvanized poultry wire and the sides are also covered to the height of 3 feet. The poultry wire protects the crop from free range poultry and animals. Since the cover is UV treated, it also blocks harmful UV rays and the 40% shade also helps conserve water when irrigation is needed. The basic purpose of a shade house is to partially block sunlight and heat to protect plants and extend their life. It can be used to grow nursery or bedding plants, or for growing food crops. By building beds and filling them with a rich soil mixture, intensive gardening can produce an abundance of vegetables. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and cabbage have all been tested and grown successfully in a shade house with a 40% shade cover. Beds can be cared for with a few simple hand tools and weeding and irrigation become easy chores as well. Shade houses make people less dependent on the cooler rainy seasons by extending the growing season, allowing extended food production.