The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Sunday, January 20, 2013

FARM GIRL'S CORNER - Designing a productive vegetable garden Pt. 1 - Follow the sun


Farm Girl here - welcome to Farm Girls Corner. Planning on starting a vegetable garden this year, or expanding an existing one? We are here to help.

In gardening as in many things location is everything, and the most productive garden will always be located in full sunlight. This is simply because most food crops need all of the suns energy to convert nutrients via photosynthesis into large, healthy, tasty and nutritious vegetables for gardener and family to enjoy.

This means that sunlight is a limiting factor in laying out the garden. Now, in the dark of winter when the suns path is lower in the sky than it will ever be during the growing season is the time to draw a "sunshine map".

A complex task involving compasses, sextants, astrolabes, dividers, and chronometers? Hardly.

Simply pick a sunny day and walk your property after the sun is fully up, around noon, and again before sunset. Note the extent of ground which is always in sunlight. This is the area potentially available for gardening, considering the sun only as a factor.


While doing this take note of trees which may be low enough now to allow full solar exposure, but which will inevitably grow over time. Fast growing trees like ash, and especially pine will eventually overshadow ever greater patches of potential garden.  If you cannot or wish not to remove or top these trees when they become too big then adjust your sunshine map accordingly.


Similarly if a fixed structure like a house, barn or hillside just barely shades an area now in winter ask yourself if it will do so when the sun is higher in spring. If not, then this is land which will be available to garden.

Disturbed to discover that almost none of your land receives full sunlight all day long? Do not despair. We will be covering shade tolerant vegetables in a upcoming post. Some garden favorites like tomatoes, squash, corn and peppers are not among these but there are still options like greens and root crops available to you "shady" folks.

Thanks for visiting Farm Girl's Corner, and please visit us again soon!


Lead photo courtesy of April May Maple who retains all rights:
Lead photo model: April May Maple

1 comment:

Antony Chinos said...

Lovely garden and those fresh veggies are nice to look at. You have a spacious garden enough for garden sheds of two to accommodate.