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Gardening in the woods

633 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  wildflowermama
Well, we've moved to a lovely cabin in the woods....and I mean WOODS!
We have 2 acres, but almost all land is fully or partially shaded by large oaks....the one flat that has the most sun is over our leech field for the septic system.
So I'm goign head on into trying my hand at container gardening on our deck and possibly roof?
Anyone else live in the woods (without a clear plot for gardening) and can tell me what they grow? I'm a gardening novice to begin with! I'm pretty sure I can grow raspberries.....and we thought about making a moonlight flower garden tipi on the leech field...I'm reading up on the container garden - someone said planting watermelon and pumpkins in containers would be nice...even putting the containers around the leech field??? I think I would have to put the containers on wheels on our deck though, as not even that gets full sun!
So lets hear some stories of you sun-challenged green thumbs!
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We do have some clear space for gardening, but I saw you had no answers

A lot of time when something says "full sun", 4 hours is plenty. Do you have spaces that meet that criteria? It is all any one portion of our space gets anyway.

I'm not particularly fond of containers

We had pumpkins thrive in a spot that only really got 2 hours of direct sun a day. I have only been here a year and can'treally offer anything more than that. Depending on your latitude you may need less than the recommended amount of sunlight. The light is pretty harsh were we are and I can't imagine plants standing up to full sun for as long as some of the packages state.
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My aunt lives in the woods in Northern (not the UP) Michigan and gardens in a 1/2 cleared site between her house and the thick woods. Her plot gets some filtered sun. Sun lovers like tomatoes and corn won't grow, but Squash radishes and punkins do well. The pumkin vines will actually search out the best spots for light.
We live on about five wooded acres. We do have a few stretches of land that get a bit of sun so I am going to have about three garden plots plus there is a flower bed that gets a bit of sun (four to six hours) by the house and I removed all the hostas (thanks to freecycle! Actually someone else took them for me!) and am putting herbs in there.

What is your driveway situation? I am planning on putting my tomatoes in a two by ten strip along the side of my driveway. There is one of those whiskey barrel containers there where I will put basil. Along the rest of my drive (we live on a private road otherwise I wouldn't plant so close to the road) down to the road, I'm planting Jerusalem artichokes.

Last summer when we moved in, we saw some sort of mystery squash/melon growing on the other side of our circular drive and since there is a good sized patch of land there, I'm going to put pumpkins and watermelons there and pray that they make it.

In the largest patch, we are putting beans, okra (I'm a southerner, though I live in the midwest now and okra is hard to find in stores here), eggplant, more watermelons, other melons, various squashes, carrots, beets, chard, and I can't remember what else! I'm using the Square Foot method and also kind of building raised beds similar to the book Lasagna Gardening. I also have a strawberry bed and will have blueberries (after I cut down this decorative grass monstrosity as it hasn't been claimed by freecycle) and raspberries. I'd like to put in cranberries just for fun, but I don't know if I'll get around to it yet. It is still a bit sunny in this one section off my deck so I planted lots of greens and lettuce and chard, when the trees are all green, it will just shade it enough to keep them from bolting I hope.

I'm growing a lot of medicinal herbs and culinary stuff. Most of the culinary will be in pots on the deck, but I have chamomile, skullcap, hyssop, and of course I don't remember what other seeds I put out by the house in that flowerbed. The chamomile seems ok. I did have three borage plants by the greens off the deck (St. John's wort and thyme are thriving there by the way as is chamomile) but lost two of them. One lived once I moved it to the strawberry bed.

You can use aluminum foil and styrofoam to reflect more light on your plants, according the the Square Foot gardening guy.

This is my first year here, but I'm just diving into it. If it doesn't work well, I'm going to maybe block off half of my driveway and build raised beds over the gravel next year. I'm pregnant this summer and so I didn't want to deal with major projects.

Great thread. Hopefully more forest gardeners will respond.
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