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Plants that love sun, but can still be grown to maturity in the shade ?

 
pollinator
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Everybody know about theory. That's the wonderful place where everything work. Usually when you put it in practice, well, it's another story.

But today is not that day. I realized that one of the spot where I intend on growing my vegetables has twice as much place as I was about to use.

The only issue, is that the further I go north of that spot, the less sun gets there, as it's in between two houses.

I'm following Gertrud Frank's book for this part of the garden, so let me explain the basics.

You have three kind of row with this method.

Row A have about two months of a crop that will feed the soil, usually fava beans or mustard; then it's cut and you plant (around may) the "big" crops that will last until autumn: tomatoes, squash, potatoes. Then, you have a row of spinach, which will be cut to feed the soil later in the season (around april), and get covered with the greens you harvest (basically, surface composting).

Then, you have a Row C, which contains vegetables that are used quite often: lettuces, onions, carrots, leeks, etc. Basically, you can get about three cultures in those rows. Then, you have another row of spinash/surface composting, and then a Row B, with vegetables like beets, beans, cabbages, celery (basically, two harvest in the year). And another row of spinach, and another Row C.

Then, you repeat. Row A, Spinach/surface compost, Row C, Spinach/surface compost,  Row B, Spinach/surface compost, Row C, Spinach/surface compost,.

I hope you are able to follow, please tell me if it's not clear.

So, the further north I get in my spot, the less sun there will be. Meaning the firsts rows, including rows A plants which require a lot of sunlight should have more than enough sun, but the northern rows might struggle. For leafy vegetables I don't really question that they will work properly, but I'm wondering what kind of "big" crop I can plant, where less sun won't be too much of an issue.

Ideally, I would need to plant in these rows A seeds that I already have, as I can't just buy more seeds (I literally have more than 50 plants variety left to place in the garden at this point). So, here are seeds that I think could go in those rows (about 4 rows, about 3 meter (10 ft long)). Some however might not grow well in rows:
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Lentils
  • Millet
  • Pole beans
  • Russian pickle
  • Cotton Mississippi Brown
  • Squash Jack be Little
  • Squash Benning Green
  • Physalis
  • Potatoes
  • Sunflower
  • Tobacco


  • To recap the question; among the plants above, which one will tolerate some shade, and being planted in row ? I'm sure they will get 2 hours of sun, maybe more but that fluctuate a lot. However in the summer, perhaps there will be more sun than just those two hours.
     
    pollinator
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    Add another dimension to your plan and think about the height of the plants you are growing.  A spot that is shady at ground level may have adequate sun a few feet up, so that a taller plant or a climber may thrive. However, the tall plants will also cast shade on their neighbors.
     
    gardener
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    Hello Mike. After reading your post several times, it sounds like your question could also be framed as, “How can I get more light to my sun-loving plants?” Though you cannot move the houses around you, how about also considering ways to optimize the light that enters the garden?

    As explained in this interview, white paint can reflect light back to the atmosphere to keep our planet cool: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/can-the-worlds-whitest-paint-save-the-world

    In addition to cooling surfaces, the grow spectrum can be reflected back to your plants at oblique angles so that your garden can receive maximum reflected light (up to 98.1% if you get the optimum white coating noted above). The idea is to augment your planting strategy with white washed garden surfaces that will enable light to bounce around in your garden (ricochet off walls, stones, and other white features) so your plants will receive more light than they would when aligned with the direct sun light overhead.

    This reflective approach is working here in the desert where the extreme heat from direct sunlight would kill most plants. The plants need light so the ricochet approach helps them receive the light that they need to thrive.
     
    Mike Lafay
    pollinator
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    Location: France, 8b zone
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    Mk Neal wrote:Add another dimension to your plan and think about the height of the plants you are growing.  A spot that is shady at ground level may have adequate sun a few feet up, so that a taller plant or a climber may thrive. However, the tall plants will also cast shade on their neighbors.



    From what I've read, in this system tall plants will provide some welcome shade to some of the other plants around, which will be welcome in the summer.

    Using height, I'm not completely sold about it. In this case, the shade is from houses, so unless I do rooftop gardening, it won't help much. However it could help a bit by spreading the leaves over a wider area, and thus getting more sun.

    Amy Gardener wrote:Hello Mike. After reading your post several times, it sounds like your question could also be framed as, “How can I get more light to my sun-loving plants?” Though you cannot move the houses around you, how about also considering ways to optimize the light that enters the garden?

    As explained in this interview, white paint can reflect light back to the atmosphere to keep our planet cool: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/can-the-worlds-whitest-paint-save-the-world

    In addition to cooling surfaces, the grow spectrum can be reflected back to your plants at oblique angles so that your garden can receive maximum reflected light (up to 98.1% if you get the optimum white coating noted above). The idea is to augment your planting strategy with white washed garden surfaces that will enable light to bounce around in your garden (ricochet off walls, stones, and other white features) so your plants will receive more light than they would when aligned with the direct sun light overhead.

    This reflective approach is working here in the desert where the extreme heat from direct sunlight would kill most plants. The plants need light so the ricochet approach helps them receive the light that they need to thrive.



    The house wall are already white, but maybe having some kind of white soil cover could enhance the sun exposition ? Big flats rocks, which could double as mulch (at least for the paths) ? Would straw mulch or something similar for paths work too ?
     
    gardener
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    Location: Zone 6 in the Pacific Northwest
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    I know you said you want to use seeds of what you already have but if you want to branch out, here's some ideas...

    Have you thought about shade tolerant flowers and herbs in those spots? Especially perennials? Since it's shady, perennial herbs will grow slowly but since you would leave them there year after year, they can just keep growing. I've had success with rosemary, thyme and sage in partial shade.

    Also planting shade tolerant flowers can draw pollinators to the rest of the garden to increase production, even if you aren't getting lots of food from the shady area. And if you plant leafy greens in the shade, let them go to flower. The bugs love their flowers.

    Fruit bushes like gooseberries prefer a shadier spot. And perennial plants like hostas and fuschias love the shade and are edible.

    In the hottest part of the summer, peas will enjoy the cooler shade and continue to grow and produce pods.

    That's all I can think of for now but I'm sure there are lots more options out there.
     
    master pollinator
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    Not all of these plants are on your list. Perhaps this info will be useful to others. I am USDA 7a.

    Things that hated partial shade:
    Landrace mochatta. Also a Butternut squash.
    Okra
    Sorghum
    Amaranth
    Cotton
    Tomatoes
    Corn, but corn doesn't like me in full sun either.

    Some success with partial shade
    Pole beans, blue lake
    Cole crops in the heat of summer: ie turnips, kale, collards, etc
     
    Mk Neal
    pollinator
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    Mike Lafay wrote:

    Using height, I'm not completely sold about it. In this case, the shade is from houses, so unless I do rooftop gardening, it won't help much.



    The shade cast by a building is not a block but a wedge, the angle of which varies based on position of the sun. So unless they are flush against the building, the plants do not need to be on the rooftop to be clear of the shade. But the shorter the plant, the further it will need to be from building to get adequate sun. So you could plan you beds that way.
     
    Mike Lafay
    pollinator
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    Jenny Wright wrote:I know you said you want to use seeds of what you already have but if you want to branch out, here's some ideas...

    Have you thought about shade tolerant flowers and herbs in those spots? Especially perennials? Since it's shady, perennial herbs will grow slowly but since you would leave them there year after year, they can just keep growing. I've had success with rosemary, thyme and sage in partial shade.

    Also planting shade tolerant flowers can draw pollinators to the rest of the garden to increase production, even if you aren't getting lots of food from the shady area. And if you plant leafy greens in the shade, let them go to flower. The bugs love their flowers.

    Fruit bushes like gooseberries prefer a shadier spot. And perennial plants like hostas and fuschias love the shade and are edible.

    In the hottest part of the summer, peas will enjoy the cooler shade and continue to grow and produce pods.

    That's all I can think of for now but I'm sure there are lots more options out there.



    I asked about plants that would go well in row A, because in this method, "big" harvest plants go there. I'm not sure if I'm being clear, what I mean by big plants, is plants that take all the season to grow, and have some kind of a "one shot" per season.  I consider plants such as tomatoes, squash, cotton, tobacco... those plants, well if you wait too long it's too late.

    Why I'm trying to say is this: I've got the other rows covered, with leafy greens, flowers probably, and plants that will enjoy shade... but those plants don't go in row A, which is reserved for major plants. So,they'll more likely go to row B and C.

    This method is clearly dedicated to annuals, as the rows move each year. I'm not sure a lot of perennial like to travail. Perennials have their place in the garden, just not there. :p

    But thanks for the reply ! I want to try this method properly, so I can't really try those suggestions in this context. It's a whole system, things are like they are for a reason, so I want to try it how the author intended to. If you're curious, I've made a spot with a few perennials that like dry soil, on top of a parody of a hugelkultur (I mean, have you seen the ones made by permies staff ? my sticks are a joke :D). And I have a few plants that should be fine with shade. Cress for instance. And today I rediscovered a lemon balm I had planted in the shade.

    Next year, I might get seeds of variety that are more adapted to shade, maybe cherry tomatoes. Anyway I'll try pickles, as they don't need to get huge.

    Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Not all of these plants are on your list. Perhaps this info will be useful to others. I am USDA 7a.

    Things that hated partial shade:
    Landrace mochatta. Also a Butternut squash.
    Okra
    Sorghum
    Amaranth
    Cotton
    Tomatoes
    Corn, but corn doesn't like me in full sun either.

    Some success with partial shade
    Pole beans, blue lake
    Cole crops in the heat of summer: ie turnips, kale, collards, etc



    Pole beans might make the cut. I just hope I'll enjoy their taste. My experiences with eating beans two decades ago were not the best.

    Mk Neal wrote:

    Mike Lafay wrote:

    Using height, I'm not completely sold about it. In this case, the shade is from houses, so unless I do rooftop gardening, it won't help much.



    The shade cast by a building is not a block but a wedge, the angle of which varies based on position of the sun. So unless they are flush against the building, the plants do not need to be on the rooftop to be clear of the shade. But the shorter the plant, the further it will need to be from building to get adequate sun. So you could plan you beds that way.



    The shadow will be very similar, no matter how high you go though. Unless I'm not understanding what you mean.

    But yeah, the plants will be more on the center, less on the sides, where it will always get less sun.
     
    Mk Neal
    pollinator
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    Here is diagram showing angle of shade, as it changes through the day.  This example is a tree shading a house, but same concept applies to a building shading a garden.

    TID Seasonal Shadow Lengths
     
    pollinator
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    Hard to answer but as always our members have brought up some solutions.
    That's why this is the only forum I joined, never smack talks, no bullies like in so many other forums.

    Your way (only way) to go is:

    First, get some land with or without trees, the budget decides what you get.
    Second, spend some days and see where light reaches the bottom and make a drawing incl. duration of light,
    which time of the day the sun breaks through because the mid afternoon sun can be a killer!

    This way you have already a lot of plots for homesteading then check again with what plants the others came up with.


    Option 2 (which I prefer)
    Look for any spot that looks good to you with at least dappled shade, rake it a bit open just to loosen up the surface.

    You probably get many things like corn, beans and grains by the pound in big supermarkets and many are still fertile seeds.
    Check for big packs (Microgreens for example)
    Buy seed packs that are cheap wherever and whatever you find

    Take a big bucket or even a 50 gal Barrel and mix all seeds you got hands on in this container, mix Pumpkins, Tomatoes and other seed bearing "bio waste" from Markets, Supermarkets and Veggie shops.
    mash up the Veggies carefully, then dilute this "slob" with water and at least 5 times the amount Peat Moss (as more as better), and mix with water until its fluid like a mix you use for hydro seeder.

    Broadcast them using a Ladle or Big spoon with a nice round throw into the raked places. (best before rain)
    This way you have less expenses but safe years of trials with neat arranged seed beds just to find out that this specific plant won't do it here.
    What comes is a winner and what not comes has been in the wrong spot, simple as that.

    Off cause you want to make a list what was growing where for the years to come.

    Tip at the end:
    By mixing perlite, wood chips or saw dust in your hydro seed you can even see afterwards where you broadcasted all your seeds.
    If there are too many trees you might consider Pruning or Pollarding or even thinning some unwanted trees out.

    But all begins with the first step. Get some Land.
     
    master gardener
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    Just to throw another option on the table, had you considered rotating the rows so they are oriented NS rather than EW? That way at least
    part of the rows will be in sun, rather than the whole row in shadow most of the day.

    Most of the plants you list wouldn't grow at all for me outside, so I'm assuming will need warmer, full sun but Potatoes will be fine. Pole beans I assume you mean Phaseolus Vulgaris? They'll prbably prefer a fair amount of sun, but Runner beans : P. coccineus, will probably be fine in less sun. You might find physalis and sunflower won't do too badly either.
     
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