It’s January. If you are a gardener, it’s time to get out the seed catalogs and begin planning your summer. While you are not able to get your hands in the dirt, there is still much to do.
Know Your Yard
Everyone has tricky spots in their yard. It takes a while to get to know them. When we first moved in to our property we planted our orchard in what seemed like a logical spot. After living with the land for a year we realized that it was totally wrong and had to dig up and move the trees. I would advise you to get to know the land before planting things that need to grow for many years.
Your yard will inevitably have wet spots and dry spots. If you are growing a vegetable garden you may think that nothing is as bad as a shady area. However, that is only because you have yet to read this article on usable/edible shade plants.
The Trouble With Shade
Most of the traditional vegetables we find in the garden need full sun, that’s true. In an effort to beautify the yard, most people opt for hostas and leave it at that. I wanted to share more great plants for putting in those shady areas, so you end up with more than a just pretty ground cover.
Nut Trees that are Shade Plants
- Black Walnut
Fruit Plants that are Shade Plants
Most of these like to be on the edge of the forest, so a bit of sun is good for these options.
Medicinal Plants that are Shade Plants
Many of these plants like deep shade. It is important for all of them that you provide good drainage.
- Black Cohosh
Mushrooms that are Shade Plants
Learn to grow your own mushrooms on logs and you can quickly fill up a shady spot with a food that is also medicinal.
- Lions Mane
Greens that are Shade Plants
With greens it is important to note that they all tend to need about 3-4 hours of sun a day. Dappled shade or areas that get early morning sun and nothing else after that are perfect for these options.
Culinary Herbs that are Shade Plants
Just as with greens, these herbs need at least 3-4 hours of sun each day. If they get less than that, or you don’t have enough drainage, you might tend to get fungal infections in your beautiful produce.
- Mint: peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, and other mints
- Lemon Balm
So have fun filling up your shady spaces this year, with USABLE shade plants!
Whenever possible, choose perennials for your shady areas. The forest floor gains a lot by not being tilled. By planting as many long term residents into your shady areas and disturbing the soil as little as possible you can mimic the forest more closely.
What do you plant in your shady areas?