A very shady garden.

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Politenessman
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A very shady garden.

Post by Politenessman » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:29 pm

I am planning my garden for next year (Didn't have a garden this year)
I have a small house on 1 acre, but, most of the plot is wooded and steep.
There is however one very shaded area, about 10' x 15' and one area, 40' x 10' that I could use. The soil here is red clay, so I'm going to have to build beds, and import some top soil for them.

Given the shade problems, does anyone have any recommendations on what to grow? I'd like to grow some potatoes, tomatoes, beans maybe, and definitly some sort of fruit. (I fear I am going to be SOL but its worth a try)

And I should mention I am a complete n00b when it comes to growing things.
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Post by wilycyt » Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:48 pm

completly off topic but the thing that immedeatly came to mind when hearing the phrase "shady garden" was "marijuana plantation"

now back to your regularly scheduled thread
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Post by Vindex » Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:46 pm

You can grow fiddleheads in the shade, they're great with butter.

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Post by thekessel » Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:41 pm

Well, the answer you will mainly hear will be one of two: 1) Nothing grows in the shade (which is why Dolly Parton's feet are so small) or 2) You can grow cool weather crops like lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach -- greens mostly. Since you will be growing in raised beds, you should check out http://www.foodforeveryone.org. There are some pdf or doc files available on making the raised beds and watering and just about every thing else. It is the method I use in my garden.

Would you be able to clear or at least trim some of the trees running E-W so you could get some sunlight to the garden?

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Post by cougar » Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:18 am

some of the hybrid seeds do not require direct sun light but still need some. any old school farmers in the family, like from WW2? They know the tricks to getting crops to grow. My Mom had a victory garden in the ally behind her house in detroit as a kid. Her Dad cleared the gravel and turned the dirt and thats the veggies they had. Mom said the corn was 6 and 7 feet tall; out of an ally.
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Post by ZSmember15 » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:17 pm

Ya.........like already stated your options for things in shade are very limited, also because you will be importing topsoil you are limited to things that have shallow root systems, you can probaly get mainly greens and some herbs to grow, I'd honestly look into clearing the land of trees, you have any buddies that have chainsaws? if you do, offer a nice home cooked meal and some beer to come over and use the chainsaw to clear some of your forest so you can have more choices, because the situation you describe is far from ideal.

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Politenessman
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Post by Politenessman » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:50 am

The options I have are far from ideal, but even if I could clear the trees, the slope of the land is horrible. The one open area that I do have, gets direct sunlight for maybe half a day. With regards to the raised beds, I'm looking at making those about 2-3 ft deep.

I suspect one of my biggest problems is going to be keeping deer away from the veggies.

Given my circumstances, I'm not looking to be self sufficient for veggies and crops, I just want to supplement what I buy from the store and perhaps lower my weekly bill a little. Greens, herbs are all good suggestions.

I'd like to try fruit, but I know they need sunlight and lots of it. Perhaps I'll try strawberries, sometimes they can grow in limited sunlight. Guess I can always grow mushrooms!
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Post by mistylady » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:37 am

Can you trim the tree limbs up so your plants can get at least morning sun? If you send off for a catalog from Burpees the descriptions will tell you what will grow good in shade or you can email and ask them. They're pretty nice. They like to keep their customers happy so they buy again. My grandmother bought all her seeds from them for many years. My family bought from the local feed and tack store and they only carried what would grow in our area. The locals are a great source of information.

We had dogs that kept the deer out of the garden. Grandma had a twelve foot tall fence and she did well until she'd forget and leave a gate open.

Good luck with your gardening next year.

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Post by Tireur » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:52 pm

What about squash? They can pretty much grow on any incline, doesn't mind shade and makes a nice change from potatos in recipes.
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Post by Tonya » Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:06 pm

I tried out Square Foot Gardening this past summer and it worked out well. The book is by Mel Bartholomew. I recommend getting the newest edition because it has updates and new techniques. We have a lot of red clay here too- the book will discuss making you own compost, making your own "perfect soil", etc. We were getting ready to move at the time and I was able to very easily move my garden without any loss of vegtation and without any added stress- pick it up and go. I used 36 inch long flower boxes. Basil, tomatoes, greens. You can pretty much grow anything you like. No weeds either, very low-maintenance once it is set up, which wasn't difficult either.
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Post by KotaLu » Sun Nov 26, 2006 3:12 am

do you have enough room to build a greenhouse of sorts? if so that could open your options-- they can bve done fairly inexpensively... i had a link i'll see if i can find it... i can't wait till i get my puter back...

the squarefoot gardening idea is awesome as well....
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Post by Politenessman » Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:03 am

I could probably put up a small green house, maybe.
The issue is going to be the location on the property and the amount of sun it gets - I'll have to look into it, but I hadn't considered it before, so thanks.
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Post by KotaLu » Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:41 pm

Dern it... i was tryin to find a couple of my links for home made greenhouses... still looking... :D
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Post by Zombine » Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:55 am

Behold! The wonders of mushroom farming!(and not the drug kind!)
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/nreos/forest/w ... on-20.html

However, i'm not sure if it is warm enough in your area for that...

You could also try and get some Black Raspberries from America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_occidentalis, they always grew very good back in the mountains, where the conditions were similar.

Edit: Whoops, just saw that you live in Georgia, I figured you were a Brit :oops: . In anycase you probably have plenty of blackberries, but I would recomend giving mushrooms a shot.
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Post by Trioxin » Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:10 pm

I had a raised bed garden that recieved mostly shaded light. I planted 20+ tomatoe plants as an experiment. They all grew well and produced many pounds of tomatoes. The only down side was that since the plants needed more sun than they got, they grew very long and thin and had to be fully supported. I wound up supporting them up to around 4 feet, then looped them back down to the ground, turned into a long vine-ish plant.
All that said...I had tomatoes to eat.

side note on tomatoes, but on topic of limited space gardens...

I asked a "professional" what the minimum size container needed to grow a productive tomatoe plant in was. He said a 5 gallon bucket MINIMUM.
I planted one in a 3 quart, clear food container. It grew, albiet a stunted next to the ones in the garden, and produced MANY little delicious yellow tomatoes. Only down side was that I had to water it every day.
So there you go. You have no place where the sun shines all day? Plant 5 or 6 of these quart containers in a spot that does and you'll have tomatoes.
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Post by Feuerlied » Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:19 am

Vindex wrote:You can grow fiddleheads in the shade, they're great with butter.
mmmm ferns... But another good thing to grow would be tomatoes. Just look for the subspecies that grows well in shade.

Get a book from the library on growing things, there are many things that grow well or can only grow in the shade. I'm not sure about growing fruits. Perhaps berries would work; it would take a while to grow an apple tree or anything like that.
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Post by ClownRacer » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:46 pm

if you have a flat roof growing in 5 gallon buckets works awsome

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Post by platinumwolf » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:08 pm

it takes forever to grow a pineapple plant but think how much you could trade for, for one pinaplle.

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Re: A very shady garden.

Post by zombiepreparation » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:57 am

Any new ideas for food crops in the shady areas? A lot of us in neighborhoods find ourselves surrounded by trees we can't remove. Aren't there some food crops even for these sparsely sunlit areas?

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Re: A very shady garden.

Post by Anianna » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:27 pm

I've been told that anything will grow in the shade, just some things better than others. If you want to grow it, give it a try and see what happens. If you grow tomatoes, for example, they may turn out a little smaller than expected or provide less yield, but you'll probably get tomatoes nonetheless. I recommend you start with transplants, though, as starting from seed is hard enough even in ideal conditions (at least in my experience).

My husband was once given a delicate little houseplant with a tag that said not to put it in direct sunlight. He was told by the people who gave it to him that direct sunlight would kill it very quickly, so to be careful about that. The thing gave me the terrible sneezes, so I put it in direct sunlight figuring it would die in a few days. Daggum thing thrived in conditions I was told it shouldn't be in. Sometimes, you're capable of all sorts of things when you don't know what you can't do.
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Re: A very shady garden.

Post by zombiepreparation » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:19 pm

I just googled food crops that grow well in shady areas:

Mesclun
One of the best crops for shady gardens. Grows in as little as two hours of sun per day and handles dappled shade well.

The delicate leaves of this salad mix can be harvested in about four weeks, and as long as you leave the roots intact, you should be able to get at least three good harvests before you have to replant.

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Re: A very shady garden.

Post by zombiepreparation » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:22 pm

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

--Vegetable plants will grow slower and produce smaller harvests when grown in the shade

--To maximize your harvest, leave extra space between plantings. This will make it easier for the sun to reach your plants and help to prevent disease (from too-wet conditions)

--Shade gardens do not require as much water as full-sun gardens, so be careful not to overwater

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Re: A very shady garden.

Post by zombiepreparation » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:26 pm

Shade tolerant vegetables cannot be crowded. Wide spacing promotes good air circulation and light penetration, which in turn reduces problems with diseases.

Anticipate that slugs and snails will be a problem, because they are naturally attracted to moist shade. Plan to trap them often (even when plants are not present) using beer-baited traps.

To reduce mollusk habitat, limit mulching until the weather becomes warm and dry in summer.

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Re: A very shady garden.

Post by CitizenZ » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:17 pm

Will it get at least an hour or two of direct light when the sun is directly over head or are we talking completely shaded? Most of the "shade tolerant" plants mean they can stand some shade, but not no direct sunlight at all. It seems you're in GA, so even "shade" should be lots of light.

Can you surround the garden with a white fence to reflect light? Even just one or two sides, north side especially. That should jack up the light level. Most gardens need a fence to keep out deer and other critters anyway.
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