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Sufficient Sunlight


I've just bought a new house and was hoping to set up a fruit, veg and herb garden. Unfortunately I've found that the house completely blocks all direct sunlight from the back garden. Even allowing for the sun being higher in the summer I'll be lucky if it skims half way down the back fence.

As it's an open space that doesn't seem dark could I still create a kitchen garden? Or would I be setting myself up for a constant struggle and disappointing results? Would it be better to drop the idea and create a courtyard garden more suited to light shade?

Thanks for your advice - it's the first garden of my own and I can't afford to waste the money involved in making the wrong decision.



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 20,363

    Apart from chervil, most herbs need direct sun to grow well and develop flavour.  You could maybe grow some rosemary, thyme, bay and sage in pots by the front door if that's in full sun and I find basil does well in window boxes or pots as ong as it is watered regularly.

    Salad leaves can grow in shade so you could try those - some of the tastier ones are really quite expensive to buy.   Root veggies should be OK and maybe leeks.   Have a look at this site - 

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 61,276

    My last garden was an inner city north-facing back yard - I was able to grow runner and French beans, lettuces, beetroot and chard very successfully.  Chives, parsley, mint and lovage were happy in the back garden and thymes, sage and rosemary I grew as has been suggested, in containers by the front door. 

    Rhubarb, gooseberries and raspberries don't need full sun, and morello cherries do best on a north-facing wall or fence. 

    You'll be surprised at the amount of things you can grow.image

    The thing I found was that you have to cram as much into the mid-summer season when the sunlight hours are the longest - it's useless trying to grow early or late season veg in a shady plot.  The other important thing is to improve the soil with lots of home made compost and well-rotted manure so that it is dark in colour - that helps it to hold the heat.  Also important it to ensure good drainage.  Most plants can cope with lower temperatures as long as their roots aren't in sodden ground.

    Good luck image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,818

    Blackcurrants. Cooking apples.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 25,196

    I'm certainly not getting enough sunlight these days

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 25,196

    we're planning 2 winter trips next year. the same time to cape verde, nov- dec for a fortnight then a month in Burma in Jan and Feb in Thailand.

    Have I ever mentioned I don't like Winter?

  • Thank you so much for all your advice. There are a few things I have to do (like replacing fences) whatever I decide to grow so I'll focus and those first and see how the light levels change as things warm up.

    The benefit of finally having my own garden is that I don't have to rush into any changes. Thanks again.

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