Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Impact of Sun on Veggie Gardening by Gardener Cumax

Note: this is the second in a series of blogs by Gardener Cumax. You might also want to read "The Impact of Soil on Veggie Gardening" posted on 8/28/10. 
Given that I've been fertilizing, the next variable is Sun. My garden is blocked from early morning sun by a huge silver maple tree. It's not until 11:30 am that the center of the garden gets full sun, and not until 1:00 pm that the area closest to the tree gets full sun.

Applewood Community Garden, on the other hand has no obstructions whatsoever. It's in full sun from the get go. Why early morning sun matters: that's what veggies need! Applewood gets sun from the get go! Put it this way: my garden is missing at least 5 hours of direct sunlight each day.

My intuition tells me that those 5 hours make a difference in plant and soil health. Instead of watering in the morning or evening - except containers which need it both; and 3 times during temps above 93 - I have to water at noon for daylight growing plants; nightshades I water near sunset anyways.

Another factor comes into play: the monsoon season has been in full swing for a couple of weeks now. It's common for it to cloud up before 2:00pm, meaning my veggies get 2-4 hours of direct sunshine. This simply is not enough.

The difference can be profound.
The tomatoes keep right on growing and flowering in September. That's what indeterminate means. The vines are now 7' tall.
One interesting thing is that while my greenhouse has its roof halfway open, the walls greatly limit wind desiccation. The tomatoes and peppers in there are doing fantastic in spite of the same amount of sun time. I believe that the partial roof, which is a greenhouse film, is dispersing the sunshine, so in a way it's making more light available for the plants inside it than those just outside it.

Coming next: The Impact of Water and Timing on Veggie Gardening