Posted by Webmaster | Filed under Features
(From Sprout Autumn 2010)
Although sunny conditions are optimal for most plant growth, many inner-city gardens suffer from overshadowing. But don’t fear, it is still possible to use a shady backyard to your advantage – for instance, less water is required, plants are not likely to burn or perish in the heat of the day and temporary shelters are not necessary. Although the list is somewhat limited, you will still discover many delicious fruits and vegetables that will flourish.
Maintaining your veggie patch all year round is certainly possible, providing you’re careful with the varieties chosen and are realistic about your climate and soil quality. It is also necessary to consider the type and cause of your shady conditions as many plants enjoy differing degrees of shade. For instance, solid shade (which may be caused by large structures or buildings) does not provide optimal growth conditions and you would be hard pressed to successfully produce many types of edibles in this kind of area.
Plants will need some morning, evening or filtered sun; two to six hours really is a minimum. On the other hand, dappled or broken shade (created by trees or other small obstructions) is a more realistic environment in which some vegetables can thrive. Even a veggie patch that is exposed to only 2 to 3 hours of sunlight a day can produce some excellent varieties.
So, if your backyard has limited sun and you’re unsure of what to plant, why not try herbs such as:
You may also like to consider vegetables such as beans, peas, cabbage, spinach, rocket, lettuce, kale, sweet potato, beetroot and carrots – this is the perfect time of year to plant these. Alternatively, some fruits that enjoy partial shade include pawpaw, pineapple, banana, strawberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, passionfruit and grapes.
While many of these edibles may be slower to bear fruit, and will perhaps not produce the size and quantity of crop as those growing in full sun, they are still worth the effort.
So, don’t waste any more time thinking about it. Now is the time to get started!