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Suggestions for Veggies in 1/2 day Sun in NW?

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Suggestions for Veggies in 1/2 day Sun in NW?

Post  Momma Pajama on 4/9/2010, 10:18 pm

I am helping out some folks in Seattle with their SFG. They started it last year but need some advice on more successful veggies for their 1/2 day morning sun (No better light available). They did good with lettuce, green pole beans, cherry tomatoes, but bombed with late-season heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, and corn.

I am going to give them suggestions for crops and varieties and wondered if any of you NWers have any tips on short-season veggies that tolerate lower sun. I'm thinking early Russian and Czech tomatoes, super early corn???? Of course, lettuce, sugar snap peas, spinach.
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Re: Suggestions for Veggies in 1/2 day Sun in NW?

Post  boffer on 4/9/2010, 10:26 pm

You've hit all the obvious ones and have depleted my repertoire. Deb should have some ideas, having moved from the holler recently.

If they couldn't grow corn last year, don't waste the space on corn.

If you want to help me with my experiment..... I have a 4x6 box ready to be planted, that is intentionally sitting in the shade nearly all day. Just to see what stuff does. I was going to plant the obvious cool weather stuff, any ideas of plants I might try?
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Re: Suggestions for Veggies in 1/2 day Sun in NW?

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/10/2010, 2:15 am

I had a short season but full light.

I have WAY too many Russian Black Plum tomato seedlings and a couple of extra Stupice. I would be glad to donate. From what I read, the Plum are not wonderful but are dependable. They are supposed to take 65 days in a good tomato area. They sure are strong seedlings.

Can friend grow pole or runner beans over a arbor to find more light?

I know cole crops seem to do well in short season (broccoli, cabbage, etc.)
Strawberries do ok, peas too. There is a small seed company on Lopez Island, they sell their seed at Mt Vernon Natural Foods Co-op. I have a broccoli from them that is said to be very short season as well as the Black Plum tomato. (Greenheart Gardens)

This is hard because low light isn't quite the same as short season. So many veggies need X number of light and heat hours to harvest. But this is exciting that she is ready to try. What a fun challenge to follow.
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Re: Suggestions for Veggies in 1/2 day Sun in NW?

Post  Wyldflower on 4/10/2010, 9:43 am

Just wondering if the low-light problem is due to building walls blocking the sun. If it's possible, it may help to paint the walls white, to maximize the light that you have. I know this may not be the problem, or it may not be possible to paint existing walls, but it's a thought.
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Re: Suggestions for Veggies in 1/2 day Sun in NW?

Post  Momma Pajama on 4/10/2010, 12:21 pm

Hi Wyldflower,
The north side of the bed is on a short picket fence shared with a neighbor. The shade is due to the house which is on the east side of the bed, is 2 stories tall, and is on a slope ABOVE the garden. So, no eliminating that barrier!

I am also thinking of suggesting an old mirror behind the garden. Has anyone tried that before? I've heard it can really help bump up the light levels in shadier situations.
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Plants for Shade

Post  ander217 on 4/10/2010, 4:06 pm

I have a copy of Rodale's pamphlet, "157 Perfect Plants for Shady Spots" from 1995. The number one rule they give is, "Shoots and roots, not fruits."

For example, lettuce and spinach will do well with 4 hours of sun a day, but tomatoes which need 8-10 hours will not. You can grow healthy-looking turnip greens and beet greens on 4 hours of sun a day, but turnips and beet roots need 6-8 hours. Some plants such as basil will grow in partial shade, but won't produce as many leaves as in full sun.

They suggest to look around you and see what is already growing well in shady areas. In my area, wild grapes grow up trees or under a shade canopy, even though grapes are not recommended for growing in the shade. Our black raspberries naturalized at the edge of our woods and those berries are better than the ones that grow along our fence in the sun. Ditto for wild blackberries - shade-grown ones here are larger and sweeter.

Parsley and chives grow fairly well in shade here, and I have mints running amok on the shady side of my house.
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