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Shades and Sun for Plants

Q:I have two long plots against the back of my house that I will be dividing into 3 plots: one for herbs, one for flowers and one for vegetables. This area gets lots of shade and little sun.

We have found impatiens do very well but we're looking for other ideas for flowers, vegetables and herbs that we can plant this spring.

A: I'm afraid that for all three types of plants you'll have better success with more sun than less. Herbs will not thrive without sufficient sun, probably 6-8 hours being optimum. Some will grow in partial shade, but most really do need a good amount of sun. To learn more about herbs, you may want to contact a local herb society.

The same can be said for veggies and most flowers. You might try potting your veggies - this way you can move them around in the yard to try to keep up with the sun as it traverses the sky (for obvious reasons, use small pots so you can move them).

As for flowers, you may try planting early-bloomers like crocus, primrose and wood hyacinths. These bloom before trees are in full leaf, giving you some early color. After that, you'll probably have to stick with the shade-loving flowers like your impatiens.

You haven't mentioned the reason WHY this area gets little sun. If it's a matter of trees casting shade on the area, you might have their crowns thinned out to allow more sunlight through.

You may also have some trees that are of lower quality or desirability that could be removed. I recommend you contact a qualified arborist in your area and ask for a bit of advice. The small fee he or she may want for spending a little time with you would be well worth it.

To learn more, click on the Amazon.com link at the bottom of this page and browse. You'll find a number of books on these topics of knowing and growing herbs, veggies or flowers.

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