In addition to water, the amount of sun your vegetable plants receive is a leading factor in whether or not they will survive and thrive. Before you plant your garden, you will need to map out the hours of sunlight the spot receives so that you know whether to plant vegetables that need full or partial sun there.
But sometimes, you’ll pick a spot that gets plenty of natural sunlight, and accidentally sabotage your crops by planting the vegetables that tower over the smaller ones and block out the sun they need.
Whenever you plan your crops, you have to look at the back of the seed pack to see how big each plant will grow. It also might be a determining factor to see how fast they will grow.
You might have a plant that grows tall, but takes longer to grow, and a smaller plant that goes to maturity and is ready to harvest before the shaded area is even a problem. But the best way to plan is to organize the vegetable rows in an order where no tall plant is able to soak up the sun a smaller plant needs.
Some plants may not seem high, but require a trellis or stake to grow on, which means they’ll be climbing and creating a shade to other plants. This would include things like sugar snap peas, snow peas, cucumbers, beans and tomatoes.
Eggplants and pepper plants also grow upright to 3-4 feet. Going a bit smaller would be the plants that grow more wide than tall, such as collards, kales, cabbages, and so on. The smallest crops needing sunshine would be the root vegetables like beets and carrots – as well as things low to the ground like lettuce.
When you arrange your vegetable garden, make sure each plant has enough sun to allow for photosynthesis. The plants should be able to soak up 6-8 hours of full sun per day.
If you have a choice as to where the garden goes, try to plant in a space where the morning sun is providing the light for your crop and not the sweltering afternoon sun, which can wilt plants.
There are some vegetables and herbs you can grow in the shade, so if you have any of those, you might not have to worry about taller plants blocking out any sunlight. Just make sure each plant gets the right amount of sun it needs to produce a harvest for you.