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Planting for shade...

 
gardener
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I just built a bed in front of my greenhouse and I'm planning on building two more.
I want to plant things that will shade the front glazing  during the summer but begone the rest of the time.

Sunchokes are on the top of my list of because they are maintenance free and the easily sacrificed when the time comes.
The tops can be compost but I prefer to use them as rabbit food or kindling.

I hesitate because I consider the tubers emergency food, not primo eats.

I'm wondering if I can get better use of the space with
tomatoes ,potatoes and summer squash, all of which are good at making foliage.

I'm open to ideas, what do y'all think?
 
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William, how tall do you want your shade plants to grow? I'm trying something similar with pole beans and cucumbers to provide some shade.
 
William Bronson
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I want about 5 feet of growth.
I'm leaning towards the annuals, mostly because sunchokes are easy to establish but hard to undo.
These beds could also be a good place for winter greens.

Do pole beans and cumbers produce through out the heat of the summer?
I know climbers vines persist,  thats all I've ever been able to grow, never any actual cukes.

I'm concerned that any really adept climbing vines will grow up the sloping glass roof, out of easy reach and yet, in the way.
Zucchini and cucumber both can get really rowdy.


 
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How long is the bed, ie many feet of bed do you have? Could you try one of each of those useful annual fruit vines, and see which serves the purpose?
 
Leigh Tate
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William Bronson wrote:Do pole beans and cumbers produce through out the heat of the summer?
I know climbers vines persist,  thats all I've ever been able to grow, never any actual cukes.



My summers are typically in the upper 90s, and yes, I can get pole beans and cukes if I water them well during dry spells. They might be worth experimenting with.
 
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Asparagus will grow up to 4-5' tall in summer, and can be cut back to stubble in late fall. Planting that on the south side of a greenhouse would help it grow earlier in the spring, too.
 
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One note about sunchokes, one season of mowing killed my 3-year-old patch. Mowing was assigned elsewhere, and they were gone when I thought to see how prolific they were that early fall. So, if they aren't actually in a bed, not quite so unkillable. The patch had been 4 feet wide by 30 feet long.
 
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Lufa will do the job if it has anything to climb! I shade my front porch with it every year. Just had to pop in some screws that I could hang some poly fence on as a removable trellis.
 
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Pole beans will probably do well, but you could also try yard-long beans, they take a bit longer to establish but are worth it. Also sweet potato foliage (the rabbits LOVE it), trained up to climb onto something. If not, another vote for loofah, they are AMAZING and plus you get free things to wash your dishes with when you rip them out.
I wouldn't think that summer squash would grow tall enough to shade a lot. Cucumbers might, but where I live they (and summer squash) get powdery mildew and die nearly overnight, and that would stink if it happened early in the season and left you without any coverage. (when I had the mildew disaster early this spring, the loofahs were totally free of any mildew, even though the spaghetti squash and pumpkins were affected too. The greenery has a really strong smell, maybe it has some sort of loofa magic that makes it immune).
 
William Bronson
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There are some great suggestions here!
I have about 16 feet of greenhouse front, with about 6 foot of bed built so far, so there will be a chance to try a lot of things.
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