Newbie gardener. How much sunlight for tomatoes?

maff68April 6, 2008

Hello all. I'm very green to gardening and need some help. I'm thinking of moving the garden to a less intrusive part of the yard. The garden will be directly behind the east part of the yard fence and will have shade for the entire morning. The sun hits at noon and there is good light until an hour before dusk. Will this be enough good quality light? Should the plant get more morning sunlight?

Thanks for any advice

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odeed

my first two years of growing i was in the same situation as you.i got ok production but now that they get sunlight all day(im in a new house)i get much more fruit.

although if this is your only option,im sure it will work.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:43PM
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timmy1(6a ri)

It's all about physics, energy in = product out. You're plants are converting sunlight energy into fruit.

Half day of sun expect half the yield of full day.

If you put a half tank of gas in your car, expect to go half as far as a full tank before you run out.

If you only charge your cell phone battery half way, expect it to only last half as long as it does fully charged.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 1:52PM
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atascosa_tx(8b)

The more sunlight the better..sounds like yours are getting around 5-6 hours which will suffice, but more is better..say 8+..mine get the morning sun at 9am after the shade from a near by tree..and then are in full sun until sunset..11 hrs or so.. I may start a thread later asking if an 80% light penetration sunscreen would help tomatoes in mid-summer when temps hit near 100 degrees here..

Happy Gardening

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 5:02PM
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seedboy

Half day of sun expect half the yield of full day.

If you put a half tank of gas in your car, expect to go half as far as a full tank before you run out.

If you only charge your cell phone battery half way, expect it to only last half as long as it does fully charged.

Yes, you'll get less production with less light (to a point), but plants aren't like batteries or internal combustion engines. I'm willing to bet that photosynthesis and fruit production don't have a linear association with sunlight exposure. I think PM sun will be plenty. I bet the curve is more j-shaped. That's how things often work in nature as opposed to many of the systems developed by man. I once had a spot with only six hours of direct light, and I got plenty of tomatoes. Not ideal, but we had more than we could eat.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 10:52PM
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atascosa_tx(8b)

I sit humbled seedboy...6 hours is enough to produce maters..and in numbers..guess my figuring of 5-6 was close..

Happy gardening..

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:39AM
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thear(z6 KY)

Maff,
My plants last year got less sun than you described (11am - 5pm for mine), and they grew and produced maybe better than any crop of tomatoes I've ever had. Sometimes I think the sun component gets overstated when talking bout maters....

Troy

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:54AM
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herbivore

Mine only got from 12:30-4:00pm last year and produced plenty of maters.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 2:23PM
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HoosierCheroKee(IN6)

Invest in some of D-Carch Solar Reflector Panels. Boy! Those things will make your plants look like Tomatoes On Steroids :::hehehe::: Besides, they'll scare the bejeebers outta any deer that stray by for a munch ... or even mutate all the neighborhood kids and pets within a 500-foot radius :::shock:::

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 3:05PM
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nc_steph

So, Bill,

I googled "D-Carch solar reflector panels" and got a bunch of ads and some gardenweb posts.... is that a brand name?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 7:48PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

There are tricks you can try when you don't get full sun (and I don't). One is to put a reflective surface behind your tomatoes. The reflected sunlight helps. A plywood sheet covered by aluminum foil is best, but any white surface relects a lot of sunlight. Reflectors on the sides also help.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 1:24AM
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r66rc-misc_yahoo_com

DCarch is a longtime contributor to the garden forums, not a trade name. His postings show how he constructed a very nice greenhouse with removable panels that you can get at Home Depot.
Check out the weblink.

Good luck...

Here is a link that might be useful: DCarch greenhouse

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 2:15PM
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bdobs(8b or 9 SF Bay Area)

This is only a guess, but I suspect that sunlight from say, 11-2 is worth a lot more than sunlight from 8-11 and 3-5.
I get direct light from about 8:15 to 3:45, which seems to be plenty.
Although, my brother gets probably an additional 2 hours of light, and his peppers are a leg up on mine

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 2:37PM
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recluse(6b/7 NE TN)

I've tried to grow tomatoes in 3 different part-shade locations in my yard but never got much production.

In one of those locations I had 4 hrs of direct sun (10 am - 2 pm). In another, I got about 5 hrs of morning sun (7 am - 12). The third, I got 6 hrs of afternoon sun (11 am - 5 pm). I did have some flower production in all locations, but not much fruit.

I finally gave up on trying to keep my veggie garden hidden in my back and side yards, and set up 2 small raised beds in my front yard to grow tomatoes, where I get full sun all day.

Since then I've had good success with toms and bell peppers. I don't know how you guys get tomatoes with only 5-6 hrs of sun a day, but I couldn't do it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 8:57AM
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wild_forager

I get plenty of growth, especially in the cherry tomato department, with 5-8 hrs. As the plants grow upwards they start getting more light (high fence blocks the sun). I feel like the morning and evening shade really helps them to recooperate on those hot summer days. But I also think they ripen slower. It's not so much the number of fruit for me as it is how quickly they ripen. My plants actually beat out my mothers plants in terms of growth and she had full sun all day. But after they became laden with fruit hers began ripening faster.

But basiclaly it's fine to grow it in 5-6 hrs, but 8 or more is definately preferrable. Once you get 12+ hours I think that can start to be a little much in the summer.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 9:46AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

Yes, I was also thinking that when it is stinking hot out they might like a bit of a break from the heat and glare. Like roses, I think they would appreciate earlier sun better than later, when it is at it's hottest (4-5pm). The sun comes up plenty early in the summer and by late afternoon they would have had a pretty decent dose for the day.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 2:19AM
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weew(Summer)

Is the reflected light from aluminum foil work as natural light? If yes, I can use aluminum foil to reflect 2-3 hours of extra sunlight to my tomato plant.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 5:29AM
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