juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

I’m currently planning planting for two shady areas: our front balcony and our front porch. Both of them are north-facing, so I’ve been researching north-facing and shade-tolerant edibles which will grow in containers. Most edible plants do prefer full sun; but if you’ve got shade, all is not lost.

Not all shade is created equal. Some people distinguish between open, medium, and deep shade. By that reckoning, I have open shade on the balcony (which is north-facing but very open and with little shade from the front) and medium shade in the porch (north-facing and covered). Another potential distinction is between partial and full shade. I have partial shade on the balcony and full shade in the porch.

Shrubs and climbers

  • Honeyberries look very interesting, are perennial (I like perennials), and apparently prefer partial shade. However, you need 2 plants for pollination. They can be grown in a half-barrel size pot, which is probably no good for my purposes as I’m not sure I want two of those on my balcony.
  • Kiwi vines are moderately famous for being a climber that will do well in partial shade. Again, you need both a male and a female plant, and something for them to grow along.
  • The Oregon Thornless blackberry will apparently also do well in partial shade, although again it needs a trellis to grow up and to be carefully trained. It flowers on one-year-old wood. In theory I accept that blackberries, as woodland plants, should cope well with partial shade but I confess I’m not convinced about how well they’d actually fruit. Your pot needs to be 2′ x 2′ x 2.5′ for this.

Lower/ground cover plants

  • Mint is one of the easiest things to grow in shade. I grew mint in a pot on the windowsill of a full-shade area outside our basement flat about a decade ago, and it did just fine. Mint is best grown in a pot even if you have ground available, as it is famously invasive.
  • New Zealand spinach is a shade-tolerant edible perennial, but needs to be blanched before cooking. Apparently it’s best started from transplant, so if anyone who’s reading has one and might be up for sharing a cutting, please let me know. Though to be honest anything that’s complicated to cook is unlikely to find much use in this household, so it may not be worth it anyway.
  • Apparently, swiss chard, peas, beets, and various leafy greens and salad greens are all shade tolerant too. This does fit with my experience of chard and leafy/salad greens as happy to grow through winter, when they don’t get much direct sun. It occurs to me too that planting in partial shade may inhibit bolting, meaning that we might actually have some salad greens to eat in midsummer. Similarly, I’ve had trouble in recent years with peas suffering in the unusually warm spring weather, so partial shade might help them. These can all be grown in pots, though watch this space for a roundup of which plants need deeper and less deep containers. The only problem for me with growing greens on the balcony is that they’re less harvestable for the kitchen, so cooking greens may not get so much use. Salad greens which can be nibbled while out there might be better.
  • Finally, in the fruit line, Alpine strawberries are shade-tolerant, perennial, and very tasty, and rhubarb is shade-tolerant (indeed, it dislikes full sun) and can be grown in a (large) pot. I have some down the shady end of my garden which I’m hoping will get themselves properly established this year.

Flowers

  • Pansies are tolerant of shade, are perennial, and are one of my favourite flowers (I already have some on the balcony, in fact), but aren’t edible.
  • Violets, on the other hand, are edible, perennial, shade-tolerant, and also lovely.
  • Other woodland flowers are also worth considering as they tend to be shade-tolerant.
  • Another option is plumbago: shade-tolerant, perennial, not edible, but butterflies love it.
  • I think nasturtiums should do reasonably well in partial shade, although probably not in full shade.

Other options

I found a list of other shade-tolerant edibles, which all seem likely to be a bit big for my purposes but might be useful for someone else, especially if you’re not limited to containers. There’s also a more general round-up of shade-tolerant gardening (not edible focused) at The Savvy Gardener. I’m very open to more suggestions if anyone has some, in particular for edibles although I’ll consider some pretty non-edible perennials as well.

Next steps: researching which plants need what depth of container (and in particular what will tolerate shallow containers), gathering my containers together, and constructing a planting plan for the spring.

Round-up

Apr. 23rd, 2010 08:14 am
juliet: My rat Ash, at 6 wks old, climbing up the baby-rat-tank and peering over the edge (ash exploring)

I have been meaning to make an actual post but keep totally failing, so here is a round-up of bits & pieces instead.

Sidney & me at the BP AGM last week. In further PUPDATE news, Sid is doing v well, apart from an unfortunate tendency to wake up at 6am (and when Sidney wakes up...). Ignoring her gets her to settle down until 6.30 but no longer than that. Also she chewed the laces & the Velcro off my bike shoes yesterday. She's getting pretty good at coming when called in the park, though, unless she's found something edible elsewhere (e.g. another person with *better* biscuits). She is, of course, generally utterly adorable. (Currently she is bugging me to go for a walk, but has given up and is killing one of her toys instead.) Another Sidney photo.

I have been ludicrously busy of late -- it's That Time Of Year on both allotment & balcony, & with the latter in particular as I am in the process of writing a book about growing stuff in containers I am having to make sure I don't let things slide this year! Having a bit more time to get down the allotment in the week is making things there seem more in control now, though, which is nice. Also the asparagus has started (v tasty although a slight odd bitterness to it; I have no idea why & the internet is unhelpful), as has the rhubarb.

Been visiting or being visited by lots of people ([livejournal.com profile] lovelybug, some old friends from school, C and [livejournal.com profile] ladyjulian), which has been lovely; and went up to DO RESEARCH (or to BE RESEARCHED ON, rather) by [livejournal.com profile] menthe_reglisse last weekend, which was great fun both in terms of the actual workshop & the sitting around chatting to nice people afterwards. Plus it was a seriously gorgeous day, just right for wandering up through the village and sitting out in the garden & later the pub. This weekend I am off to Bangface, so am hoping the good weather will continue.

Informative Things:

  • Petition to stop Kiana Firouz being deported. She's an Iranian lesbian, who's been refused asylum and now faces being deported to a country where homosexuality is punished by 100 lashes on a first offence and potentially death on a third. Apparently the Home Office believes that it's OK to deport gay and lesbian people in such circumstances, because they can be "discreet". Never mind that, as [livejournal.com profile] ladyjulian in a country where women are strongly expected and may even be forced to marry, "discreet" means at best a loveless marriage and at worst regular rape. Good to see the Home Office looking out for the rights of women and minorities, there. See also this short document from UKLGIG (link from [livejournal.com profile] ladyjulian) which had me raging.
  • LJ has started rewriting outbound links to include its own affiliate codes again. (see also here, which includes how to stop this happening to your links. Or if you want a Dreamwidth invite, let me know.

Right, I must away and finish packing.

juliet: Tiny baby shoot of rhubarb (baby rhubarb!)
I made half a cold frame!

This afternoon I have mostly been sitting on a train to Aberdeen. The train has free wifi which is awesome, and I have been a very good human being and proofed 6 chapters and written an article. Less awesome is the hour or so that we'll be late, and the fact that at present the bar is NOT OPEN, so my lovely & charming sister cannot fulfil her very splendid suggestion of getting something to drink. Rumour has it that it will be reopening soon.

Also the Battersea person came round today & I now have a card confirming that we have a suitable house to rehome a Battersea dog in. Hurrah.

A request

Jan. 2nd, 2008 01:45 pm
juliet: Tiny baby shoot of rhubarb (baby rhubarb!)
If anyone is chucking out anything that looks remotely like a container you could put compost in & grow plants in, please let me know - I am seeking more containers for the balcony & would rather reuse/recycle than buy.

Things I am already intending to use: elderly metal roasting tin (good for things that don't have lots of roots), plastic tubs that I think used to hold some variety of pigment (thank you freecycle!), ice-cream boxes. Anything that you can drill holes in (for drainage) and won't rot. (The roasting tin may in due course rust but I'll worry about that as & when.)

A request

Jan. 2nd, 2008 01:45 pm
juliet: Tiny baby shoot of rhubarb (baby rhubarb!)
If anyone is chucking out anything that looks remotely like a container you could put compost in & grow plants in, please let me know - I am seeking more containers for the balcony & would rather reuse/recycle than buy.

Things I am already intending to use: elderly metal roasting tin (good for things that don't have lots of roots), plastic tubs that I think used to hold some variety of pigment (thank you freecycle!), ice-cream boxes. Anything that you can drill holes in (for drainage) and won't rot. (The roasting tin may in due course rust but I'll worry about that as & when.)

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