Sunlight, Shade, Stress, and Cherry Tomatoes

Sunlight, Shade, Stress, and Cherry Tomatoes

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In this week’s Sunlight, Shade, Stress, and Cherry Tomatoes, we discuss the factors that may have contributed to the success or failures of our balcony garden. For those who are new to our blog, please feel free to read this short summary of our journey!

Background Summary

We had a garden plot at our neighborhood community garden. After parting ways with our plot, our next goal was to continue growing vegetables at our new home. We aimed at increasing vegetables with limited shade.

With about 3-5 hours of direct sunlight between May, June, and July, our plants grew slowly. We are assuming this may not change because our balcony faces northwest. Most sunlight is from the sun setting in the late evening.

We attempted to grow kale, cherry tomatoes, sage, basil, cilantro, and mint. Our experience gardening at the community garden along with the little research from other sources gave us the courage to plant in limited sunlight.

Sunlight, Shade, Stress, and Cherry Tomatoes… The results

The tomato fruiting/growth was stagnant. We expected to yield cherry tomatoes by July 🙁

A couple of months later, we observed the basil and sage thrive. The other plants, not so much.

A few things we learned along the way that may help other beginner gardeners:

  • Know sunlight patterns (obviously, haha)
  • Know what soil is best for which plant
    • the potting soil had a lot of wood chips included (thanks to our soil science friend for pointing that out)
    • we recommend buying soil that is less clumpy in texture and drainable
      • ~or~ add a good ratio of sand for individual plants
  • Container pots need regular feeding, i.e., fertilizer

We know from experience that the kale grows better as a fall crop, not summer crop. The kale may need more sunlight than we thought.

The cherry tomatoes need more sunlight — at least 6-8 hours of sun.

We learned some helpful techniques and overall had fun with this challenge! It was and will continue to be a learning experience!