John has constructed a shade frame from bamboo and 50% shadecloth for the lettuce and beetroot. Hopefully it won't bolt to seed as quickly with some shade. Lettuce seed won't germinate when it's hot, so I bought seedlings - the open non-hearting variety. If it doesn't work I've wasted a couple of dollars and some time. If it works we have lettuce all Summer.
Beetroot grow well from seed. The new leaves are used in salads then the root is harvested - a double bonus crop. They would do OK in full sun but I had room left so I want to see how they go with some shade. We will also cover the soil around the seedlings with a thick layer of finely chopped sugarcane mulch to keep them as cool as possible.
Another experiment this year will be to try tomatoes in pots so I can move them and give them the best conditions possible - maybe even in the shadehouse when it gets too hot. I've grown herbs in pots for this reason for years but haven't tried tomatoes before.
The bed at the rear of this photo is shaded for most of the day. I grow mint and ginger there. It stays damp and much cooler than the rest of the beds.
We've planted cucumbers here (to grow up the trellis giving afternoon shade to the rest of the bed) and beans and a variety of Asian greens - Pak Choy, Bok Choy, Wombok and Mizuna. Again, these will be thickly mulched to keep the soil as cool as possible.
John has also put in a watering system to cut down on the time it takes to handwater each day. Our tanks are all full so we have plenty of water.
I've also planted seed in trays which will go in the shadehouse. They grow slower in there and will be used later to fill gaps as we harvest.
There are plenty of plants that do well in Summer without the extra fuss. Eggplant loves the heat, as do corn, capsicum and chillies. Carrots, rocket and shallots seem to grow anytime so I've planted a few more seeds to keep up the supply.
The rockmelon are powering ahead.