Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegetables for shade

Late summer 2011
It feels like spring out there and I can't help share my veggie plans for this coming season.

Now that I have more knowledge of what light conditions my garden has, I have made my list and developing plans for what vegetables and herbs I would like to plant.

I'm keeping in mind: "If you grow a plant for the fruit or the root, it needs full sun. If you grow it for the leaves, stems, or buds, a little shade will be just fine".

Vegetable plant list for 2012: *Photos from OSC Seeds
*Baby Leaf Blend Lettuce
  • leaf lettuce
  • mache (lamb's lettuce)
  • arugula              
  • swiss chard
  • spinach
  • kale
  • beets (for leaf too)
  • radishes
  • basil
  • parsley
  • cilantro 
  • *Cherry Belle Radish
  • cherry tomatoes
Leafy greens, radishes, beets and herbs are my choices. They are tolerant of some shade, not huge amounts, but certainly partial sun and dappled sun.  My containers will be ideal for more herbs, outside of my perennial chives, mint and hopefully my oregano will overwinter.

*Bright Light Swiss Chard
In regards to lettuce, arugula, kale, swiss chard; I will purchase seedlings from my local garden centre instead of sowing them myself. I find the organic selections are far better established than I could ever seed indoors with low light. I could wait to seed outdoors, but my harvest season will be delayed if I wait until May.  The lettuce, arugula, beets and spinach however, will require more than one crop. I have bought seed packs now, just so that I can sow in containers and transplant more mid to late summer, that way I can extend my crop harvest.

Last year I had success with lettuce, spinach, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, chives and cherry tomatoes. I tried leeks, mini carrots, onions, garlic and although they weren't terrible, I would rather have better. I have spots with about 6 hours of sun - it just isn't enough.

One trick I learned to maximize sun, is to situate a large pot on wheels. I had an abundant crop of cherry tomatoes last year, allowing easy movement towards sunnier areas on my patio. The sun's intensity changes from spring to fall, this way I extended my yummy cherry tomatoes until October...they are my FAVOURITE!

With this years selections, at least I'll be getting enough greens!

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