The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The most important plant nutrient: sun

Tomato comparison

It's easy to get engrossed in soil improvement and forget how important sun is to vegetable production. Various lists suggest that some edibles do well in partial shade, but my experiences have shown that full sun is mandatory for full production of even supposedly tolerant species like asparagus.

Of course, no one will tell you to plant tomatoes in partial shade. The photos above show the huge difference between plants set out in partial shade (photo on the left, in an area shaded by our wood stove alcove during the morning) versus what counts for full sun on our farm. All of the plants pictured (in the foreground at least) are the same variety, and the ones in partial shade were actually set out five days before the other. Guess who's going to give us the first tomato of that variety? The same plant who has fewer fungal problems and will produce more overall --- the one who enjoys more sun!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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