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sunlight is needed for growing healthy vegetables

How much sunlight do you need?

Sunlight is probably one of the most important factors when choosing a location to plant vegetables. Lucky farmers...open space, with no buildings, houses, garages, or trees to block out the sun. For urban farmers, finding a sunny spot with at least 8 hours of sunlight per day, is the greatest challenge.

When there is a will, there is a way, so, here are some basic (& outside the box) suggestions to help you decide what will work best for you, to grow your own crop of vegetables in an urban setting.

There is also a listing of plants that can tolerate a little less sun, too!

Choosing the spot

O.K., you need at least 8 hours of sunlight, somewhere in your yard (maybe your front yard?), so how can you measure it?

Well, find a nice, warm, saturday morning, in early spring. Then, pull out a lawn chair, and sit in the sun (use sunblock as needed) all day. Of course, you can take breaks from this exhausting work as needed, for meals, etc.

If the neighbors question what you are doing, kindly explain you are doing research for a soon-to-be planted vegetable garden. They may want to join you and your research.

Now, it is not all fun & games - make sure you are marking the area with field marking paint, or landscaping flags as to the area remaining in the sun,as this will be the area for your delicious, new, vegetable garden - and maybe some culinary herbs, too.

ripe tomatoes

 
Look at the wonderful vegetables that you, too, can grow, with a little help from your friends at Clover's Garden Centers.

We sell a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, from new hybrids to vintage heirlooms.

We also carry the soil ammendments you can use to improve the quality of your garden soil, too.

What if there isn't enough sun in the yard?

Now, it's time to think outside of the box.

container gardening

Driveways tend to have more open space - consider using large containers to grow your herbs and veggies. Put them on wheels, and you can move them around to follow the sun...it's easy, and it works!

Note: Make sure your containers have holes in the bottom for proper drainage.

In the city, ground space is at a premium. Some have looked to their building or porch rooftops, as an area for planting. There's usually plenty of sun, too. Is this a possibility for you?

Have you heard of vertical gardening? There is a whole website dedicated to it.

Vegetables and herbs that are more tolerant of less light

Root crops and leafy vegetables are more accepting of less light conditions, than the sun-hungry tomatoes and peppers.

Although the vegetable and herb choices listed below do not grow in the shade, they are a bit more tolerant of less sunshine than the 8 hour minimum.

They will still need about 6 hours of sunshine per day.

  • beets
  • borage
  • carrots
  • chamomile
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • dill
  • lettuces
  • mint
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • peas
  • radishes
  • sage
  • spinach
  • strawberries
  • swiss chard
  • thyme

borage

return to urban farming resources page

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web page updated: 02.26.14