In the first year of the new garden (2009), the vegetables suffered because of the blazing sun. I thought that peppers and tomatoes thrived in scorching heat but I was mistaken. The only plants that thrived in scorching sunlight were basil, onions, and oregano. Everything else withered and died.

Therefore, I put together a plan to give the garden some protection from the scorching heat.
The plan was to build an overhead shade screen that filtered sunlight for at least part of the day.

After drawing up the schematic, the first step was to buy some shade screen fabric that I found online. The fabric turned out to be a tough, UV-resistant polymer that provided 30% light filtration. Once I got the fabric, it occurred to me that needle and thread was going to take too damned long so I bought a sewing machine and after a few pointers from a sewing pro (thanks, Mom) and some instructional videos, figured out how to use it.

The shade "sails" were so big that I had to stretch them out on the back patio when pinning the borders on.

Once I got the shade sails built, I had to learn how to attach grommets to the edges.

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the steel poles that I buried in concrete. I am not very happy with how they turned out because the poles flex and bend so I will probably end up digging them up next year and installing something sturdier that doesn't flex.

For now, the shade sails serve their purpose and hopefully will withstand the monsoon winds (June 2010).