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Shady-ish container garden in Oakland -- looking for planting suggestions  RSS feed

 
Posts: 12
Location: Oakland, CA
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Hi all,
I just relocated to Oakland, CA and in the craigslist ad it said the house had a backyard for gardening.. (my partner was in a rush to get us in a house, so he signed us up for this pad, i'm grateful, but anyway) turns out that the backyard is a north facing patio, and pretty much totally shaded out. I realize it's the solstice and darkest time of year, so maybe sunlight will trickle down there, but I don't see myself doing too much planting down there. The one place that seems like it might provide enough light, and closer to me, is the driveway that is south-east facing. The light will be only a few short hours, but I would love to have a container garden of herbs, veggies, and whatever else will grow if I can't have something in the ground. So, I ask you... has anyone dealt with a similar situation, and if so, what suggestions can you make as to what plants would do well in this area with that type of minimal light?
Thank you in advance!! Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated
 
pollinator
Posts: 390
Location: Derbyshire, UK
33
cat chicken urban
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Things with lots of green leaves tend to mind low light situations less, so lettuce and other leafy greens like chard, kale, mizuna. Also easy to grow in pots!

If you've got a fence/wall that gets more light I'd put some climbing but more light-intensive things. For example I put my squash and cucumbers on a west-facing wall- they reach up for the light.

I grow sweet potato and sprawling tomatillos as an understory in the sunniest bit of my yard- so they don't get any actual sunlight. I don't get very good sweet potato tuber crops, but I do eat the leaves. Given direct sunlight the tomatillos get upset, they seem to prefer being a shaded crop.

In really really shaded bits (under trees in my case) I grow mushrooms (oyster mushrooms on oak logs), and moss (the moss is used in crafts I sell)

 
Mary Ellen Gordon
Posts: 12
Location: Oakland, CA
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Hey Charli thanks! I really like your ideas and am excited to check out the things I've never done before, like grow mushrooms and tomatillos... moss.
Do you have a place I could check out your crafts?
Cheers
 
Charli Wilson
pollinator
Posts: 390
Location: Derbyshire, UK
33
cat chicken urban
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With the moss I make kokedama-style hanging gardens, like this:

(bigger photo: http://oozamaflips.net/dev/images/318.JPG)

I sell them in a local gift shop.

I also use the moss for lining hanging baskets, I've only done this for myself so far though. I'd like to try selling stuff from my front-door, as in eggs and plants. But I'm too afraid of people stealing stuff! I don't want to invite them closer to my house.

And I make glass beads, but that doesn't involve moss!

Things like this:


They get sold in two gift shops, though I don't sell many. Me making each and every bead by hand means they're expensive!

And back to the topic at hand:
Some perennial plants that produce in the shade:
- Hostas, you can eat the shoots and they look quite pretty. I've never had them do very well in pots, only in the ground- I think they need a bit more moisture.
- Japanese Wineberries- mine never see the sun yet still produce the sweetest berries, they're a brilliant almost fluorescent colour as well. Highly recommended!
- Alpine strawberries- again I grow these in a north-facing niche that barely sees light, let alone the sun. They don't produce many berries, but the ones they do produce taste wonderful!
- Various herbs- mint grows anywhere, parsley grows anywhere, sage and thyme I also grow in complete shade- thyme needs slightly drier conditions.

That's all I can think of right now...
 
Mary Ellen Gordon
Posts: 12
Location: Oakland, CA
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I love it! I'd never seen kokedama hanging gardens, I've been looking into it, so beautiful. There's a lot of moss that just grows in between the sidewalk here, I wonder if I could just scrape some out and then try to create a little bed of it in my shady patio area..
I know what you mean about the fear of people stealing.. although for me, I don't have much choice if I want to take advantage of the sun bc it's on the driveway... my neighbors that share the driveway said that people usually stick to the street if they wanna steal, like your car etc.haha, so crossing fingers my neighbors here in Oakland keep it cool and leave my plants be! As for yourself, maybe instead of front door, do a stand at a local farmers market? Or possibly setting up deliveries if you did an online thing.. don't know if you have time for that sorta thing..
The beads are beautiful.
Thanks again for your reply, I'm enjoying looking up the new things I've never heard of and painting a picture in my head how this garden can be created Once I start getting started I'll post some pics! cheers!
 
Posts: 22
Location: Portland, OR
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I can't vouch for how they'd do in containers, but currants are shade-growing rockstars! We've got 4 of 'em growing against the north-facing side of our house in pretty much complete shade and they've produced fabulously (or at least I assume so...my preschooler devoured all of them as soon as they became anywhere remotely near ripe-looking )
 
Posts: 7
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Hi Mary Ellen,
Late to the party, here. We're in the north bay. A great staple of the shady parts of our garden is perennial tree collards, walking onions and some more suculent herbs like parsley, cilantro and mint.
Ive no experience with fruit, but would love to hear how your garden grows.
Lcc
 
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
17
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The driveway. I know men are a bit difficult with their vehicles, but you can put the car on the road and use the driveway. You could grow mushrooms in the shady part. First I would make a plan of the whole garden  and
look what the sun is doing. Start with the easy parts, grow stuff in containers too. Maybe you rip the driveway out later!
 
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