The Q&A Archives: Lower-South Regional Veggies

Question: I have an organic garden bed on my balcony with a northern sun (partial) exposure. Tips? When to plant, how much water, which varieties of vegetables might do well in this environment?

Answer: Leafy vegetables, like spinach and lettuce, need only 6 hours of sun a day and tolerate partial shade quite well because they can be picked at any stage of maturity. Partial shade is also good for planting early and late crops (while trees are without leaves) and for crops conducive to succession plantings. Broccoli, beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leafy greens (including collards, mustard greens, spinach, and kale), onions, peas, radishes, salad greens (including leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, cress, and radicchio), and Swiss chard will all grow in the site you describe. The seed packages will indicate the best planting dates in your gardening region, as well as the number of days to harvest. Use these as guidelines for planting your garden. Watering will be tricky because the weather, as well as how many plants are in the bed will dictate how often to water. Water thoroughly and then wait a few days and stick your finger down into the soil. If the soil is moist 1" beneath the surface you won't have to water for a few days. If it is dry, it is time to water.

Good luck with your garden!

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