This year is my first garden. I'm Dallas, and I'm wondering if there is such thing as too much sun? I've mulched pretty heavily but the ground under mulch still dries out so quickly and the plants (before they were destroyed by grasshoppers) seemed weak and yellow looking. I'm wondering if a bit of shade might do them some good next year? Any thoughts on this?
In semi-arid and arid places esp ones with very little cloud cover. Too much is the norm not the exception. That is the beauty of a food forest. you can use palms as the overstory in additions to tall fast growing nitrogen fixers. These will provide shade to the plants+soil+microbes below in addition to the fruits and nitrogen + mulch that they provide.
As a rule of thumb - yellow leaves are a sign of too much water. Go down 2 - 3"s below your mulch and I bet the ground was plenty wet. My beds always run N to S.. Doing that (our beds are really raised ) that way, I can plant things on the eastern side that don't want to get blasted by the late afternoon sun. We also plant the high point of the bed (the center point) with taller plants, like potatoes, bush beans to provide additional late afternoon shade. Hope this helps and keep going~
It is possible that your mulch is tying up nitrogen as it tries to decompose. Add some source of nitrogen that won't burn the plant (coffee grounds, urine, rabbit manure...) and see if that helps out. From what I hear, that is the biggest mistake "back to eden" newbies generally make. As to the sun issue ~ I have peppers growing like weeds in the understory of an oak tree here in central texas. They get direct morning sun for about 4 hours, but then the tree and the house partially shade or completely block the sun for the rest of the day. EVERYONE who saw me put them in told me it wouldn't work. Suckers. I'm glad I ignored them. Good luck finding your solution!
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