Potential shade problem?

kelly014March 21, 2014

Hello all! I am in the Kansas City area (I believe zone 6...) and this is my second year with a big garden. Last year our tomatoes did really well in our raised beds. We decided to expand our garden and added another long raised bed in between our old beds and our privacy fence. I noticed today that the privacy fence is shading the new box (duh moment), and I am a little concerned. Once the plants reach a few feet high they will be tall enough to reach the sunlight that comes over the fence and as there are no trees will receive sunlight most of the day. But until then they will be a bit shaded and I am worried it will bother them in the beginning. My husband mentioned that the sun will move over our yard a bit more as we get into summer, so that might help the situation. Am I worrying for nothing? I am tomato obsessed and love to can them so I'd be a bit heartbroken if they didn't grow very well! I've attached a pic, I stuck a stick in the bed and the "here" shows at what height the light pops over the top of the fence. Hope that makes sense and TIA!

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jadie88(7 MD)

Of course more sun is better than less, but based on my experience your tomatoes will still do fine.

--you say most of the day they still get sun, so if they are only missing a few hours of morning sun, they are still getting upwards of the 6 hour 'minimum' for them to do well. I have used a spot on the side of my house where the tomatoes were in complete shade until noon, then baked by direct sun and the reflected light and heat of the foundation. Stressful growing conditions, but they still produced more fruit than we could handle.

--the caveat here is that you may have more of a fungal problem with the plants close to the fence. Without morning light, they could stay dew-damp for longer, and of course the fence cuts down on circulation.

--when I have planted that iffy spot right against the fence, I have used containers with the bottoms cut off in order to raise the height of the transplants a foot or so. (It works like a raised bed within a raised bed.) I don't know if it was necessary, but it did get those younger plants in more light sooner. Of course, I also gave my "must have" varieties priority placement just in case.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:50AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

First, On which side of the bed the fence is located ? North, Northwest not a problem. East also block sun few hours early in the day, until the sun is up high and a 6 ft fence is not going to block it.Then it is going to be on the South side.

All in all, tomatoes can thrive with 5 hours of direct sun and some indirect/filtered light. SIX hours of sun is considered FULL SUN, though at the lower end. If you are getting 6, 6+ hours of direct sun, that should be enough in zone 7, Maryland. Tomatoes are partial sun/shade plants.

I am doing OK in Western Washington State with 5 to 6 hours. It is not perfect but not a deterent.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:58AM
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