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Low Light Gardening

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Low Light Gardening
Photo credit: Wolfgang Lonien / Flickr

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It’s a myth that all plants need full sun to grow. You can grow very healthy, beautiful plants in low light. Even vegetables will grow with low light gardening if you do it correctly. This means you can have a wonderful, delicious kitchen garden that will keep your family well-fed even if you have a yard full of shade.

The key is to choose plants that thrive in low light conditions. They’re out there, and they’re available to everyone. Here’s how to do low light gardening to amazing success. Your friends and neighbors will wonder at your secret!

Start by Choosing Your Plants

Decorative plants will grow in shade, too. However, if you’re going for a kitchen garden, you’re going to be choosing vegetables and herbs. These can serve dual purposes as decorative plants in some cases, and make your low light garden not only fruitful but beautiful.

While it’s wise to do some research into a plant’s ideal growing conditions before planting it, a good rule of thumb to remember as you’re selecting your vegetables and herbs is that those with leaves and stems that you harvest do the best in low light conditions. Fruits and large vegetables do better in full light.

A List of Some Vegetables and Herbs That Do Well in Low Light Gardening

Here are some vegetables and herbs you might want to start with in your gardening project. All of them do very well in low light gardens.

Vegetables

  • Arugula
  • Beans of any kind
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Any kind of lettuce
  • Bok Choi
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

Herbs

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Scallions
  • Parsley
  • Lemon balm
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

How to Build Your Low Light Garden

First, you must remove the grass from the area you plan to use for your garden. This can be a bit time-consuming, as it has to be done manually (you don’t want to use chemicals to remove the grass, since those would get into the soil and affect the food you’re going to grow). Using a hoe and a shovel together is the best way to do it.

Once the grass is removed, you can lay out the basic structure of your garden. This will include as many raised beds as you want for growing “like” vegetables and herbs, or vegetables and herbs that look pleasing together. You can also lay out the boundaries of any paths you want in your garden. It’s okay to get creative and make something attractive as well as useful.

You can choose to surround your raised beds and/or paths with plastic or wooden borders, or leave them in a more natural state. If you don’t use borders, you’ll have to do periodic weeding to keep the edges clean.

After you’ve structured your garden, all you have to do is lay down some organic fertilizer, mix it with the soil, plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed packets, and water the garden. You’ll need to water at least daily to keep the soil damp (but not soggy) until the sprouts start to appear.

Conclusion

Even if your garden only gets a couple of hours or less of sunlight a day, you can still have a successful garden. By choosing the right plants for it, you can have a garden that’s overflowing with a bountiful harvest in just a few months. You can feed your family wholesome organic food, and maybe even have some for the neighbors, all using low light gardening.


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