Garden Sunlight Study

 How I wish it were time for the flowers to start blooming! Its the middle of winter here and this is the time of year when I could use a little more sunshine.

If you have decided to start a garden this spring you may be wondering:  How do I choose the best location for the garden with all these clouds and snow?  

I would start by checking your weather forecast and find a day over the weekend where the majority of the day you will have sun and less cloud coverage.  Then use your camera to take a picture of the area of your yard which you think would be the best location for your garden.  Start at 9 am and take a picture.  Continue to take a picture every hour until 3 pm (or 5pm.)  I set a timer every hour to remind me to take the picture. Below are my examples:
Sun shining bright over the garden

Sun shining and all beds in full sun

Sun continues to reach all beds

Sun continues to reach all beds

Some shadows but still mostly sun

Mostly shadows with some sun

Shadows at this point with some light

All the beds are in shadows.  During the summer they would still have some sun.

The general idea is that you are looking for an area of your yard, deck, patio or flower beds that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day (preferably 8 hours).  You are checking between the hours of 9am to 4pm when the sun is at its peak intensity. 

The above photos were taken as an example in January to get an idea of how this process works. You can choose to take your pictures now or wait until February or early March.  I would recommend taking them by March.

Garden in late April (large Maple tree casts a shadow on Bed #4 in the afternoon)
Also make sure to account for surrounding trees that will have their leaves by April.  They will cast a shadow on your garden (just make sure it doesn't happen all day!)

Of course you can also just look out back and observe the sun patterns if you choose.  Pictures help me visually observe what is happening and to compare from hour to hour what has changed.  Hope this helps you get started on your choosing your garden location!

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