Keep gardens out of full western sun

Question: I have planter boxes that get hours of direct sun. I’ve tried everything from corn to edamame, grapes, peppers, tomatillo and many others. I have even put up shading, but either there is too much sun or maybe I overwater. I’d like to start now and get a jump on summer.

The usual problems are finding a good spot in the landscape for the garden, getting the organic matter up to decent levels, planting at the right time and watering correctly. All the vegetables you mentioned, as well as grapes, have no trouble handling our sun and temperatures.

Shade cloth, no more than 40 percent, can improve the quality of many crops but not all. Okra, for instance, does not tolerate any shade. It has beautiful leaves but no edible production. Corn is the same way.

Put the garden where you can regularly see it from inside the house. Out of sight, out of mind.

The garden needs six hours of sunlight at minimum. Eight is better. The worst spot for a summer garden is on the west side in full sun. The best location is full sun in the morning through midafternoon.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas and professor emeritus for the University of Nevada. Visit his blog at