How much sunlight?

odellohio10(6b)July 28, 2011

So, the husband and I measured out some area that we'd thought we would like to place our raised beds. I've always thought we get full sun in the places we chose, but today, the sun didn't hit that area until after 11AM. That will give us about 6-7 hours of sun in that area - is that enough?

The flip side is that the spot we chose for the greenhouse ended up having sunlight by 10AM, and would get close to 8 hours. I'm contemplating doing my SFG inside the greenhouse, and just making it bigger. It would have a shaded area and then the rest would be sunny for around 7 hours.

Would either of these plans still work for veggies?

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Bryan Scott

Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, although even some of those tolerate a little shade too.

One thing to consider is if you have an area that gets a lot of sun, but there is no room to install a SFG bed, then you could do container gardening in those areas. Find a pot of some sort that you like and plant in it. That way you could also move the plants as the sun position changes during the year. I've had success with planting cherry tomatoes in pots on my back porch as well as herbs.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 12:23PM
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We did cherry tomatoes last year in containers, so if keeping those in sunlight is in question, I know I can do that again.

Everything else....I'm a little nervous about. Is there anything that gets particularly difficult to grow in containers?

I also had an arborist come out last night. He thinks that some much needed trimming of some trees will probably get me sunlight in my original site an hour or so earlier. I hope so, as I would be disappointed to not have a good area available!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:23PM
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Bryan Scott

In my opinion, growing vegetables in containers really is about providing the appropriate soil drainage and space for roots to spread out, given the sunlight space provided. So, the bigger the plant is supposed to get, the bigger the pot, in most cases. You could probably find a ton of information on container gardening online- maybe search for "apartment patio gardening" besides "container gardening". I've seen some pretty cool setups for a container garden. If anything else, see the Container Gardening section of this website.

Anyways, about the tree trimming- I have huge oak trees in my yard and in one area, the tree cannopy got so thick last year that my grass died out. When I finally figured out what caused it (very little sunlight), I had an arborist come out and clean up the trees. Now, one year later, without adding more grass, I have grass coming back in. So the extra sunlight does make a difference in my opinion. You should also notice a difference in the health of the trees if they do it right. But, keep in mind the cost/benefit too. Tree trimming by an arborist is usually not cheap. Is it worth spending that kind of money for an extra hour of sunlight on your first go-around with SFG? Other than money, it can depend on a few things like does your Salad Garden reqire more sunlight than you currently can provide? Are you trimming trees just for your garden or are you also trimming for the health of the trees at this point in time? You know what your situation is, so you make that call.

Keep posting,

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Bryan Scott

Another forum you might be intersted in too...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 1:19PM
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The area I garden in only gets about that much sun. I am pleased with how much production I get, sure there would be more, but not enough to worry. All the leafy veggies don't mind some shade, so they do fine. Another thing I notice is that as the tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and other trellised plants grow, they get more sun as they climb. The biggest thing I've noticed is that on dewy mornings the plants don't dry out right away, which means I probably deal with more of the fungus and mold issues.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:59PM
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