Growing food in a shady south-facing yard with additional shade from a lot of established Eucalyptus and Conifers is never going to be especially easy….but, at this latitude (~35°S), most sun-loving plants don’t actually require all-day sun in summer and can actually benefit from about 4-5 hours of light shade.
This is the bed shortly after I created it:
At this time, I planted about five blueberry bushes, strawberries, a dwarf lemon, two dwarf apples and a dwarf cherry tree.
A quick look at the progress so far…
The dwarf cherry tree got to leaf bud and then died after the October snowstorm. I was unimpressed. It was one of the only ‘full-size’ plants that I have actually purchased for the garden.
Despite flowering at the start of October, the Dwarf Pink Lady Apple produced no fruit. The Dwarf Granny Smith, which flowered about 3 weeks later, has given me two apples, one of which promptly fell off at the start of summer 🙂
I shall get one whole apple in autumn. That is, assuming the birds or possums don’t beat me to it!
Everything in the food bed is grown cheek-by-jowl. Given that the Granny Smith apple is a dwarf tree, it also makes an excellent support for the tomato plant….
The tomato plant also makes a great companion to the Italian Parsley and Basil plants (click for larger images):
You can see how crammed in everything is, and it is certainly none-the worse for it. That first tomato in the picture tasted wonderful!
The blueberries, which will eventually be trimmed to form a productive hedge, are doing fantastically and have given me fruit daily (click for a larger image).
The Blueberries first started bearing fruit in about November and there is a mix of evergreen, semi deciduous, deciduous and early, mid and late flowering shrubs. I don’t net these, but allow plants to grow around the blueberries (such as the Phlox, which re-seeded from last year).
It seems to be working in terms of keeping the birds at bay. Additionally, as woodland plants, blueberries are fine with part-shade and a bit of competition.
The dwarf lemon tree is seldom without a lemon or two:
Given the success of keeping the winter weather off it by growing it under the overhanging polycarbonate roof, I decided to see if that extra warmth would benefit a passionfruit vine (these normally can’t be grown here):
So far so good, next winter of course will be the judge of whether this goes on to produce fruit or just compost….
The strawberries are doing well as the wend their way throughout the bed. The varieties I chose were ‘Fragoo’ and ‘Alinta’. Both have borne a lot of fruit, but the ‘Fragoo’ is certainly one of the juiciest and sweetest varieties I have yet encountered. It also has the benefit of such pretty pink flowers:
Apart from the usual herbs (thyme, oregano, mint – click to enlarge -)….
I also have Stevia. Quite possibly the sweetest leaves on the planet (but with no calories) this is a ridiculously tender plant, that despises temperatures below 5°C/40°F, so it too is under the polycarbonate roof and sheltered by the other plants. It seems to be doing OK and has added a little bit of growth:
Just half a leaf in a cup of tea/coffee makes the beverage as sweet as soft-drink!
A dwarf variety of sun-flower has finally opened to attract vinegar flies:
Oh, well, it’s still cheery. And, because a food garden can look dull, I’ve added a few low-growing cosmos seedlings:
And Pineapple Sage rounds out the pretty flowers in this part of the garden
As always, Happy Gardening 🙂