Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Best vegetables for shady winter conditions
This bed is one of best in summer as it gets the mild morning sun and falls into total shade in the late afternoon, protecting it from the scorching heat. Being our first winter planting with the mandala design I have only just discovered that this bed despite being great in summer is our worst in winter. It is located in the northeast corner of the garden and shielded by the house on its northwest side and partially by a fence on its east side. As you can see above it only starts to get some streaks of sunlight peeking through the gate at 8 o’clock.
By 11 o’clock the sun has reached the top of the bed and will remain in darkness for the rest of the day. That is a total of 3 hours, but not 3 full hours because at 9:30 only half the bed is in the sun as it tracks across. So this bed is probably only getting about 1 and half hours of direct sunlight. As a result this bed has remained bare for a couple of weeks as I procrastinate not knowing what to do.
Last night I decided to do a bit of research into what plants would cope best with all this shade. Again I was rewarded with the richness of human opinion. Even though once and awhile I would just like a straight simple answer to my questions, I have come to appreciate and enjoy the diversity in belief, knowledge and opinion, particularly when it comes to gardening.
One site advised that if growing the plant for its fruit or root then it will require a lot of sunshine. If growing it for its leaves, stems, buds, or flowers, a moderate amount of shade is ok. But then I found some contradictory advice claiming that root vegetables are also fine in heavy shade, and that budding and flowering ones require more. So now I am left to apply my own logic and instincts and come to my own opinion.
If I went with the former (budding and flowering vegetable ok) it would include plants such as broccoli and cauliflower. But this just doesn’t feel right to me, but I have no logical reason though. With the root vegetables though, I believe the whole reason they produce large root/tubers is to store energy for when the conditions are better to go to flower. Following this logic I would conclude that they would be actually better in shade. With the green leafies everyone seems to agree shade is fine, thank goodness.
So after applying a bit of shaky logic and whole lot of pulling it out of my ass (intuition) here is my list of what I am going to plant.
What would you recommend I plant?