Heirloom Expert: Establishing a New Garden

Need tips on how to start a garden in a slightly shady place?


| Winter 2013-2014


Our young family is moving to a new house. I gardened in full sun and want to continue at the new place but it’s kind of shady. How much sun do I need to grow flowers and vegetables? We have a 2-acre lot with a couple of maple trees in front and some other types in the back. In the front there’s an area which gets the sun starting in the morning until about 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon. In back, the sun begins in the early afternoon and is gone when the sun sets—that’s where I want to grow vegetables. What do you think? I’m an organic gardener, my kids love the fresh veggies, and I want them to eat the best stuff they can.

There’s nothing better than gardening with your children. Mine are grown and out of the house (hurray!), but they still long for my garden produce they grew up with when they return for dinner. I always had a little plot for each of them, so they’ve been connected to the garden for their whole lives. Nothing makes me happier than when they ask for the special treats we used to grow together.

Before we talk about the light levels, let's address building your new gardens. Adding lots of organic matter will give you a green thumb, that’s all there is to it. Dump a few truckloads of compost or well-aged animal manure where you want to plant and work it into the soil.

In the front, stay away from those maples. They have shallow roots and will take all the water and nutrients from the soil, leaving nothing for your plants.



The sunlight in the front sounds perfect for many plants. Morning sun is the easiest on most varieties. Think about growing shade-loving flowers there, outside the drip line of the maples. If it were me, I’d start putting in some perennials and supplement the area with annuals for color until the perennials take over. Things like coleus, flowering maple, impatiens, begonias, caladiums and others will give you a good start. Perennials like hosta, bleeding hearts, heuchera, and astilbe are just a few which would love a little morning sun.

Most vegetables love all-day sun, but don’t worry — your back area has enough to grow all of them. The plants won’t look the same as those grown with 12 hours of sun, but they will produce.







mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265