We're wanting to replace some dying, traditional landscaping dwarf alberta spuces with edible shrubs. We're in zone 6. I've researched some options in Gaia's Garden and with my local permculture guild, but I haven't found any clear winners. These edible shrubs would ideally not grow more than 10 feet tall and will be placed on the north side of the house. This is my concern - that they will be close to the house and not receive enough sun. I've considered serviceberry, nanking cherry, and blueberry, but worried about the lack of sun exposure.
north side of the house is a hard one. not much is going to be happy there without some sun. I would think your best bet would be to research options that are known to be suited as understory plantings and can tolerate some shade.
is your house a one or two story house and can you place them say at least 3 feet away from the foundation to the NOrth..most people are not really aware of how little shade there is on the north side of a one story house..even up here in Michigan..now that it is getting Fallish..go outside several times a day and put in a stake where the sun is..you really want to be able to walk behind any plantings along your house anyway to be able to maintain the home, wash windows and have air circulation..so plan to move the trunks or planting holes at least 3 to 4 ' away from the foundation..farther if needed.
then you basically can grow anything on the north side of your house..as it will be in the sun...in the summer..in the winter..you can mulch it to keep it protected..
there are shrubs that are semi edible..or that produce edible products but that you really don't use for much more than jellies..and then there are truly edible that product heavily and products that are good for food and nutrition.
you can even consider things like dwarf fruittrees, and the taller plants will reach for the sun that you will get too.
my favorite that really tolerate some shade well are bramble berries like raspberries or blackberries, i have black raspberries growing almost totally in shade on the ne side of my garage and they bear for 2 to 2 1/2 months straight !! they love it there..i never water them and they are under the eaves ..
you might consider cherriees or peaches..they rpefer a north slope as they don't get early spring frosts that way..they won't bloom until later when it warms up well on the north.
trapes might do well if their feet are in shade and topos in the sun.
also their trellis would give some winter wind protection to your home...which is always a good idea.
Bloom where you are planted.
Thanks - these suggestions are very helpful. The 3-feet rule, and knowing that some things will be satisfied with the northern exposure is relieving. Since the shubs will be right next to the sidewalk to the porch, I would be afraid to put in something thorny like the raspberry/blackberry option...Do you think the any of the ones I mentioned (blueberry, serviceberry, nanking cherry) would cut it there?
sure but if you have a concrete sideway..you might have some problems with the blue berries as they are sensitive to ph..and the concrete might leach some..you might have to add some acidity to the soil for the blueberries.
you might consider some lovely semi dwarf fruiting trees there..they would really love it..like apple, cherry, peach or pear..esp peach as they like the more alkaline soil and the protection from too much sun.
early sun on fruits can cause them to be susceptible to frosts..you could even espalier a fence on the north side of the sidewalk with dwarf apples or something..and that would be very special
Bloom where you are planted.
"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men. They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
You could put silver paper on your house wall and then it would reflect the sun onto your trees. Maybe this is just silly, i should give up for today its really late and my head has stoped working. agri rose macaskie.
I have some indian hawthorne planted in the shade and they are supposed to be able to do ok there. just might be a little leggy. I haven't had them long enough to give any personal account of how well they do there.
Oh, I've always wanted to grow the Arctic or Siberian kiwi--I've heard that's a great choice for the shade!
Another favorite edible bush for the shade is evergreen huckleberry, vaccinium ovatum. I tried to look it up to see if it is hardy in zone 6, though it does grow from California to Alaska. I grew this lovely bush in almost complete shade, and it did quite well (despite frequently bowling over and stepping on by 70 lb basset hound!). I think it's much less fussy than blueberries.
I whatch all the permiculture videos was a bit of an exageration, which is to say an enormouse one. I have since whatched some on what plants permaculturists plant, so i begin to have an idea or an idea were to look. I think i meant to say i was whatching them as in I am in the process of whatching them. There seems to be someone called Ken Fern with an list of 7000 plants that you can grow to eat or for health, may be you could ask him, his video was "permanent plants pt 1". You can find him in google too. He sells plants, he is talking about plants you can grow in englaqnd though, so if you live in a hot climate, there will be lots of plants his lists don't include. agri rose macaskie.
According the the Plants for a Future website Elaeagnus x ebbingei can tolerate full shade. You can keep it pruned to 10 feet. It fixes nitrogen and, supposedly, produces choice fruit although I haven't tried it myself.
Rosemary near the porch might work, would hold up in the shade and should be perennial in your zone. It would give you something to sculpt, makes a fine herb and herbal sachet/pillow, and the scent will drive off mosquitoes when you are on the porch. 3-4 feet high would be a big plant.
If you can keep it off the house and keep it contained, kudzu might work for you.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
I gotta go with the nanking cherry on this one.One of my hobbies is scouring old books for sustainablegardening tricks.I have found references to using plants on the N sside that are sensative to spring frosts.Here in the PNW,nanking will flower too early if we get a warm spring or a sunny spell late winter.Then a frost will wipe out the blossoms.By placing the nanking on the N side,It does not get any sun/heat during the early spring(the sun is low)but by summer(sun is high)it gets plenty and since nanking is early ripening,the delay will not be enough to effect the harvest(unlike the blueberry which might need the entire season to ripen.)
There is nothing permanent in a culture dependent on such temporaries as civilization.
I'd say you want to avoid putting blueberries near a foundation or a sidewalk, that is just asking for a continual struggle as the concrete will have the soil pH shifted too high for the acid loving blueberries. I've also been told that blueberries like full sun.
Rosemary is a nice plant to have near a walk way as you can brush it as you walk by and enjoy the sent.
joel mentioned beaked hazel. my first thought was hazelnut. the literature says they do OK in partial sun. my second thought was ferns. u can eat the fiddleheads; use them as an understory plant. also, ginseng could work if ur not going to be disturbing the soil. it takes at least 7 years to cultivate anything for sale or use, but it's an idea. kiwi vines are supposed to do ok with shade. i saw some fruiting as an understory plant in a forest garden in TN. just remember 1 male to 8 females.