Friday, March 8, 2013

Free Books This Weekend

I am giving away some free e-books this weekend. Please check my author page and look at the titles. You will see which ones are free Kindle downloads. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Growing Vegetables in the Shade

I just finished Volume 1 of an e-book called Starting a New Garden. It is dedicated to beginning gardeners and anyone who needs more information about how to start a garden. Volume 1 takes you through how to prepare garden beds, raised beds, and container gardens on lawns, yards, patios, and other hard surfaces. Volume 2 (which is coming soon) will cover all aspects of growing vegetables, including planting and proper care.

Below is a short excerpt from the book. This is a section on growing vegetables in shady spots. One of the most common questions I hear is "What can I grow in the shade?" Here are a few ideas.

Shady Vegetables

If you have a shady spot that receives less than perfect sunlight, you still may be able to grow certain vegetables. If this spot gets the equivalent of a few hours of direct sunlight per day, either for part of the day or through dappled sunlight, it may be possible to grow vegetables which do not need too much light energy. Let’s start with what you probably cannot grow: fruiting vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash. These plants need so much light and heat, often a whole summer’s worth in direct sunlight, to produce their crop. But if you are dead set on growing tomatoes and have only a partially-shaded spot, then try some cherry tomatoes. Most of them produce a crop much more quickly than larger tomatoes, and hopefully you will get something from your plants, if not a full harvest.

Topping the list of low-light vegetables are leafy greens, such as lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, collards, mache, arugula, parsley, bok choy, and tatsoi. Since we eat the leaves of these plants, we do not need to wait until they absorb enough energy to make fruit, seeds, or enlarged roots. You can harvest a good crop of greens from a garden that gets very little sunlight. Next, you could try peas and beans, sticking to the bush or dwarf varieties which produce more quickly than the pole types. I have grown both peas and beans in very low light situations with good success.

Root and tuber vegetables are fine with less than full sunlight also. This includes carrots, beets, potatoes, radishes, and turnips. You will not get much from them in a truly shady spot, but half a day’s sun should be plenty to ensure a decent crop. Another good bet is green onions (scallions). While onions and garlic take months to bulb up and produce food, you can harvest green onions within a few weeks of planting. In fact, you can do the same thing with garlic greens. They are less well known, but they have a delicious fresh taste.