Organic Gardening – Growing a Vegetable Garden With Limited Sunlight

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Organic Gardening – Growing a Vegetable Garden With Limited Sunlight

Growing vegetables in the shade is not impossible. Planning and picking the right locations for your crops can provide you with a vegetable garden that will do just fine in the shade. Take advantage of the few sunny areas you have, choose the crops you grow carefully and you can even modify the shade areas to fit your gardening needs. With a little careful planning you will be surprised what you can grow in a partial shade area.

There is no doubt that full sun areas are by far the best choice for growing a vegetable garden. Plants need the sun for photosynthesis and to produce sugar.

To deal with shaded areas that you have to work with, you will first need to study the area, figure out how much sun and when those areas get sun, if any. Next figure out exactly what type of area it is, a partially sun or shade location is an area that receives two to six hours of sun, it can be either in the morning or in the afternoon. It can also refer to a full day of on and off sunlight. Most vegetables that prefer a full sun will grow in a partial shade area, especially if they receive the hours of full sunlight they need in the morning.

A garden that is considered lightly shaded is one that receives an intermediate amount of shade. It can be one that receives only an hour or two of direct sun during the day, but bright enough for the rest of the day to allow for a variety of crops like leafy green plants such as lettuce, spinach or broccoli to perform well in.

Full shade is an area that is usually found under mature trees that have dense foliage. Trees like large oaks and maples can cast this type of shade in the summer months. An Area that is heavily shaded under mature evergreens is often an area that is usually dry. A fully shaded area is a good location for woodland type plants and not a great place for vegetables.

A shaded area does have it’s benefits. Gardening in the shade can conserve water and weeds don’t grow as quickly. Anyone who lives in an area with a lot of trees knows a shady garden can be a pleasant place to spend time working in on a hot summer day. Whatever the type of shade area you have in your yard, you can make the most of it.

If you have a choice, choose an area that has morning sun. Shade in the afternoon will be better for your crops during the hot summer months, this is when the sun is it’s most fierce. Severe temperature changes of shade in the morning and the hot blazing sun in the afternoon are difficult for most plants to handle. A gardens that faces east can benefit from the brightness of the sun in the morning and the shade in the afternoon. If your garden is in a location that is under deciduous trees, you can give your plants a head start by starting the seeds indoors or sow them directly into the garden early in the season before the trees form there leaves. The one thing about planting under trees is that the root system of the tree will compete with your garden plants for water and nutrients. Plants that are grown where there are trees will need extra care to make sure they receive the proper amount of water and nutrients to make up for there competition.

If anyway possible get your garden out past the trees drip line, this is where most of the trees root system will end. If that isn’t possible, you may be better off to plant in containers under the trees to prevent your crop from having to compete with them.

Some of the vegetables that will tolerate shade, but should be planted in areas that will receive the most sun include beans, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, summer squash and early tomatoes. Crops like corn and peppers tend to not grow so well and produce modestly in partial shade.

Crops that are grown for there root crops and leaves will tolerate more shade than fruit producing crops. Beets,broccoli, carrots, celery, lettuce,radishes,spinach,and turnips can be quite happy in partially shaded areas, along with shallots,onions, garlic, chives, leeks and parsley. Plants that produce leaves can tolerate a partial to light shaded area because there leaves have a larger area to absorb the sunlight they need. Shaded areas can have there benefits with leaf crops. They can be more tender and succulent, without having the bitter taste that they tend to get when temperatures get too hot.

The one thing that you need to avoid when planting in a shade garden is crowding. Plants in the shade will spread out wider that when grown in full sun. Plant your crops wherever they will receive the most sunlight, even if you have to separate your crops in more than one location. Having smaller yields to harvest is better than not having any at all.

Source by John Yazo

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