Growing veggies on the NORTH side of a house? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 12/21/05, 10:27 PM
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Growing veggies on the NORTH side of a house?

What are my chances of success if I plant veggies against the north side of my house? I was thinking of setting up some trellises against the wall, and trying maybe pole beans, zucchini, small pumpkins, cukes....

My problem is that I'm short on land in general, and especially short on SUNNY spots. Blasted trees and buildings are everywhere (grumble, grumble...). The south side of the house is 100% blocked by the neighbor and the 7' privet hedge running down the property line. West side is partially blocked by the garage, but that's our main growing area. The east side is largely blocked by a big magnolia tree and two 30' pines. I have the west and east areas basically packed with plants already. Will I get ANY veggies growing on the north side, or will it just be a waste of time? The house is 3 stories, and made of very orange brick, if that makes a difference.

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 12/22/05, 10:13 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
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I wouldn't think veggies would get much sun right up against the north side of a three-story building. But what else do you have on the north side of your house? If you have enough yard you can plant away from the house a bit and get a lot more sun.

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Old 12/22/05, 10:44 AM
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Thanks. That's a good idea, but won't work, unfortunately. I've only got about 10' on the north side of the house, so I don't think any of that would get much better light than if it were right against the house. I'm trying to take advantage of vertical spaces for growing, but the south side is out (we're only about 6' from the neighbor's 3 story house), and the east and west sides have porches/overhangs. We're going to do hanging baskets from the porch and overhang, but it would be really great to have some climbing spaces, too. We've already got plans to grow stuff up the garage walls, so the north wall is the only place left. It's a big wall, with no trees or anything near it, and it seems a shame to leave that whole side unplanted. Why aren't there any vegetables that love part shade!?!?!?

It's only 1/8 of an acre, but I'm determined to grow most of our food, at least for spring, summer, and fall. We're only 2 people--so it shouldn't be impossible, right? I did pretty well last year, and this year I'm going to triple my efforts. The neighbors might think we're crazy, and they might be right....

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Old 12/22/05, 11:46 AM
 
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What about your roof? Is part of it flat and accessible? If so, that would be an option... and convince your neighbors.

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  #5  
Old 12/22/05, 12:04 PM
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Sorry, about the only thing that will grow on the north side is lettuce, cabbace, celery, radishes, maybe onions. Cool weather crops, they do better in the shade during the summer. Peas might do ok. Good luck. You could try the other stuff in containers. I do tomatoes in 5 gal buckets.

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Old 12/22/05, 12:15 PM
 
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Lightbulb Reflection

Also, what about reflecting sunlight from a light colored wall, mirror or water feature onto or into planting areas? I've heard of people doing this, but don't know how successful they were.

Unfortunately, from the (admittedly little) I've read, vegetables will not grow in full shade. If you do find some specimens, however, please post them as I'm interested in doing the same thing.

Best regards,

Doug

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  #7  
Old 12/22/05, 12:17 PM
 
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Danaus29,

will the veggies you mention grow in full shade? I'm not disputing, just asking because I don't know.

Thank you,

Doug

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  #8  
Old 12/22/05, 12:36 PM
 
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The Use of Water Features in the Garden

Here's an article about the use of water features in the garden. I think I'm selling myself on this idea.

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  #9  
Old 12/22/05, 01:52 PM
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Yep, in fact full shade is the only way to go for lettuce and spinach in hot summers. brocolli doesn't do too bad but the cabbage worms got mine. I even have strawberries on the north side of the house. Don't know how the plant got there but there it is. The plants won't be as green or as small, but they also won't go to seed as quickly. You will get quite a bit of light even right up against the house in late June and all of July. I did have a very nice veggy bed on the north side until Hubby decided to try to flatten the area. Now it's a project in the works and unusable. Too bad, it would have been great this past hot, dry summer.

Summer crops like tomatoes and squash have to have sun to produce flowers. Buckets in the sunny spots or even moved around might help you with that.

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Old 12/23/05, 12:29 AM
 
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I second what Danaus29 suggested except that I don't think you'll be able to get onions to grow. Watch your sun carefully - sometimes you actually get a few hours of sunshine. Strawberries and blackberries/raspberries will grow in partial sun - they really don't mind afternoon shade. Trellising can sometimes give you more sun. I assumed you've watched/monitored your amount of sunshine during the late-spring/summer/early autumn time frame. Don't judge sun angles by winter sunlight.

Can you redesign any of your landscaping - ie put in garden where you now have lawn? I remember an elderly woman living a few blocks from the beach in southern California planted her lovely vegetable garden in her front yard (with a fence and gate) every year because she was surrounded by buildings and the backyard was pretty useless with zero side yards. Any possibilities like that for you?

You might not be able to put your garden all in one place however you may find you've got small spaces here and there. And everywhere you can, use the airspace by trellising. You'll greatly increase your yields per square foot.

On the north side, you'll probably have to plant a little later and/or lean towards cool germination-short season varieties.

Let us know through the summer how you solve your garden challenge!
BW

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  #11  
Old 12/27/05, 01:18 PM
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Thanks for all the good advice. I've already got my raspberries and blackberries in part shade--I'll see if I can clear out some more shady space for the strawberries and lettuces and other leafy greens. I had planned to put them in the sunny area, but I guess that's a waste of sunny space. That's a good idea to look into short season varieties for areas that get a part day of sun. I'll probably give that a try and see what happens. I know the north side gets at least some sun in the summer--I sure felt it when I was weeding and mowing that little strip of lawn there.

I'm also definitely going try to haul some big buckets up onto the garage roof. It's flat, and gets lots of sun. I wanted to do that last year, and just didn't get to it in time. The only real questions are how much weight that old roof can hold, and whether we can leave a ladder leaning against the garage overnight without it getting stolen. I'm taking more and more lawn each year for gardening--I've been thinking of just covering the whole thing this year with squash/watermelon vines. The main problem with that is that I'm worried some jerky neighborhood kids would be tempted to come up and smash the squash/melons if they were so visible. Little punks. Hmph.

I'm not sure about the water feature idea--we have so little space, seems like it might take more than it gave.... Has anyone had experience using water or other things to reflect and maximize light in shadier areas?

Thanks!

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