Whenever I am asked if we have a vegetable garden, I seem to begin my response with "Well, we don't really have any sunlight but we try to grow a few things..."
And that is very much the case. Each year we grow a few things with barely any sun. Actually, as the trees get bigger, each summer we have less sunlight than the year before. But exactly how little sunlight are we talking? Honestly, I had no idea!
A few weeks ago, knowing I would be home for the day and seeing the forecast called for a full day of sun (also inspired by Amanda's great garden update), I set the timer on the stove for 60 minutes, over and over, and took photos all day long, on the hour, of my garden.
It turns out that we get a modest two hours of direct sunlight per day. Not at all what most would think you need to grow veggies. But we somehow successfully grow a few things each year nonetheless.
You can take a look at the full sun exposure set on flickr (I've added the time of day to each photo) if you're into that sort of thing (like me!). I planted late this year (June 1st), so things don't look too lush in the photos, but they are much more so today.
Our garden is on the small side, it is not intended to provide for us completely. We do make weekly trips to our farm for an abundant veggie order... but our thinking is such that:
- It's just nice to grow some things.
- If we can grow enough of the things that don't require tons of sun, then we'll have more money in our farm budget for heirloom tomatoes and melons!
So, given that we have barely any sunlight, what do we grow?
Taken a few years ago.
In the past we have grown:
- Kale - fulfilling my dreams of a smoothie garden
- Broccoli - grew beautifully, plants took up too much space for our small plot
- Swiss Chard - bountiful
- Lettuce (different varieties) - did pretty well
- Cucumbers - did very well, tons of cucumbers*
- Beans - we can grow enough beans for the whole street it turns out
- Peas (not very many, surprisingly) - not sure why, never had much luck with these
This year we are growing:
- Cucumbers - *no fruit yet, so strange given how bountiful in the past
- Basil - lots, doing well growth-wise but bugs have always loved basil here (I've grown it in the front perennial/herb garden in years past)
- Parsley - lots, loving the shady backyard
- Beans - doing great, as always
- Zucchini - chose to grow this due to the great success we've had with cucumbers in the past... but same as this year's cucs, no fruit yet - lots of flowers on both plants though. (Please share if you have any thoughts on this. My neighbor is having the same issue and she has plenty of sun.)
- Sun Gold Tomato - I know, crazy, right? It's an experiment, but guess what?
The (one lonely) plant is filled with fruit! And they said it couldn't be done.
Just a little update from my garden to yours. Gardening for us is a journey of trial and hope for sure, both the abundance or lack thereof are full of surprises, lessons and gifts. We've learned that just when all logical explanations tell us something is not possible...
... the world beyond our control has other plans. Kind of like the bigger picture of life, I do believe. (Thank you Sun Gold, for reminding me.)
As I was writing this post, Emily went out for a morning garden check with Sukha. She found (aside form those reliable beans), a handful of bright golden tomatoes, from the little garden that couldn't possibly...
Lesson of the day? All things are possible. xo