Q. I am creating garden beds along a walkway on the west side along a north facing wall. It is shady there most of the day. What edible plants can I grow there this time of year?
|Here is the walkway in question|
A. The area next to the sidewalk is a long, a north facing wall so it does not get much sun. Because it receives less sun, the production of food will be lower. To come close to maximum production of food of good quality it needs at least eight hours of bright light. Very bright indirect sunlight reflected from light colored walls will help production in this area a lot.
Less than six hours of bright light will severely impact the quantity and quality of vegetables produced from flowers such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc. There will be fewer flowers and thus fewer fruits from these flowers.
You would focus on greens, many kinds of herbs, possibly onion and garlic. Keep in mind that leaf and stem growth is also affected by light. Leaves that grow under lower light levels tend to be larger, thinner and tend to tear or rip more in wind and when harvested. They also tend to be less bitter.
On the flipside, vegetables produced under the high light intensities of the desert tend to be more compact, thicker, more bitter and frequently tougher in texture. Full sunlight tends to produce more nutrient-dense leaves, stems and fruits but may reduce its eating quality or texture.
This time of year focus on the cool season stuff like mustards, kale, lettuce, spinach, and beets, cauliflower, broccoli, rapini, carrots, escarole, mizuno, and the like. Some herbs include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, lavender and cilantro.