Picking sunny planting spots

pick a better spot

That’s the cold frame again, pulling itself out of winter. I thought I did a good job of siting it in the yard – I even took a time-lapse video to see where the sun usually is. Alas, I put it about 8 feet east of where it should have been. The result is that it loses out on a lot of early-morning sunlight. You can plainly see this in the photo, too. The bed of garlic right in front of it is getting light, while the shadows on the frame look comically abrupt.

My frame didn’t suffer too badly from this, since it still got about six hours of light a day – enough to warm up. The left-hand side of it never really got enough light and didn’t germinate anything decently. I’ll move it to the other side of the bed of garlic this fall so that it gets more light. If I located it in the right place at the beginning, it would get at least two more hours of sun in the spring. Gardening is a system of constant refinement and long memory.

Should you pay attention to how much light your plants get? Yes, generally. “Full sun” on a seed packet means 12 hours of light a day and if your yard is like mine, that’s about a postage stamp of ground to work with. Partial sun will still do the trick – 6 hours of light or more – but you will have slower germination and growth, meaning that you’d better have a long warm season to make up for it.

My tips for site selection (and trust me, the time-lapse video is coming in another post)

-look at where the sun is in the morning, afternoon and evening and take pictures for reference.

-Save the sunniest spots for the plants with long growing times that absolutely need it – tomatoes and squash are worthless if unripe

-Salvage your shady areas with reliable leafy greens like kale because you can harvest that at any size and eat it.

And if you’ve got truly shady areas of your house, never look over a mulchy mushroom bed, either! There’s plenty to grow everywhere.