Mapping the Sun
Six craft sticks |
String | Scissors | Container with lid | Watch or clock
Any time you want to garden around a
building, it's important to find out in advance how much the building might
block the sunlight for your plants.
The first thing to do in choosing a
garden spot is to find out which way is north. Then you can find out the other
directions. Stand facing north, and you know that the east is on your right
hand, the south is behind you, and the west is on your left hand.
plants need as much sun as they can get. So it's chancy to plant a garden
that's up against the north side of a building . . . unless you want to plant
shade plants such as hostas. That's because the sun comes up in the east and sets
in the west. If there's a building that blocks the sunlight, there's likely to
be shade on the north side most of the day. Plants that need the sun's energy
to bear fruit or blossom into flowers probably won't get enough sunlight in a
shady place, so don't plant them there.
even then, you have to be careful. If you are planning to transplant some
hostas, which are shade plants, and a building's northwest corner is nice and
shady in the morning, beware. You need to come back at noon, at 2 p.m. and at 4
p.m. to check out whether that nice, cool shade has disappeared because of the
pattern of the overhead sun.
Many times, a patch of ground that
is cool and shady in the morning is scorching hot and sunny in the afternoon. And
vice versa! So you need to be a private investigator of sunlight throughout the
to do this on a day when at least one person from your team can come over to
your garden spot and do this activity at five different time slots during the
day: 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
each time on a different craft stick with the marker.
five pieces of string in 10-foot lengths.
one end of each piece of string to a different craft stick.
one craft stick in the corner of the building where you are mapping the sun.
the five craft sticks tied to string in a container on site.
8 a.m., one gardener should come to that corner and note where the line of
the free end of the 8 a.m. craft stick to the corner craft stick, and stretch
out the string along the line of shade.
10. Stick the 8 a.m. craft stick into the
ground to hold that line secure.
11. At 10 a.m., the next person should do
the same thing, and so on until 4 p.m.
12. Next time the group meets, you can see
the effect of the overhead movement of the sun on the shade and sunlight
patterns in your garden space. Then you can plan plants accordingly!