Over here on the Eastside, just like the South and Westside, we are experiencing a influx in predatory house market dealing. One of the by-products of this is a extensive amount of these "We Buy Houses" Signs illegally posted to poles and at intersections around in the neighborhood. Its perfectly legal for residents to remove these ugly signs but then we end up with a pile of these signs lying around. Our first project was lead by Marisol Cortez, Greg Harmon and Raul Gomez and I where we made a political statement by building a walk-in 8 ft tall house made out of house flipper signs. But as in Permaculture, we must think, what do we we have a influx of materials in our environment? how best can we use these materials? The idea of a solar shield came from the fact that even though plants require full sun, 12 or 10 hours of sun can be too much for our Texas solar heat. Using these signs as a shield to protect vulnerable plants from extended sun times can really increase the potential of survival for these during our summers.
This is a photo of a Mexican Oregano struggling in our full sun in a un-irrigated bed we just built. The leaves show signs of stress and the water would evaporate too quickly with prolonged sun exposure.
By placing the sign on the west side of the plant, you can protect the plant from the hottest part of the sun exposure. The morning sun is called the cool sun due to the air being cool from the night before, and the the evening sun is called the hot sun due to the increased solar radiation and heat from the heating of the air by the sun throughout the day. The sign can shield the sun and allow shade to be over the plant starting round 5pm instead of 8pm. Those three hour differences each day can help the plant stay cool, and hold in moisture during hand waterings. When a plant needs full sun it only needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. This shade helps us get closer to those times and helps protect the plant as it grows.
After even a week the plant showed more growth and the leaves have opened up fully. This is a perennial that normally can take full sun. So, once the plant gets established and healthy and builds a strong roots system, then we can move the sign to another location to help any other plants facing full sun exposure.