The Q&A Archives: Artificial Sunlight

Question: Since my planned organic veggie garden has a northern exposure with partial sun, would

Answer: A sunny site is prime real estate for a vegetable garden, but some veggies will grow in partial shade. In horticulture, partial shade is described as any site that receives 3 to 6 hours of sun per day. Flowering edibles (tomatoes, melons, squash and peppers) need the most amount of sun. They prefer 8 to 10 hours a day. 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. While your idea about installing gro-lites to supplement natural daylight is interesting, it won't be cost effective. I would stick with plants adapted to the amount of natural sunlight the site receives. Best wishes with your garden!

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