It might seem as basic and obvious as saying to someone use the sunny areas but a lot of us look at shady areas as wasted areas. We don’t want to plant a garden there. We don’t want to put livestock there. But why?
First of all there’s the myth of full sun.
Full sun – 6 hours of direct sunlight – that’s all!
Partial sun – 3 to 6 hours.
Shade has a lot of advantages.
Shady areas stay wetter. Shady areas stay cooler. Quickbolters don’t bolt. So in the late fall/early spring this isn’t a great place but in the mid summer times this is where it’s at. Value the marginal areas. Plus it keeps the gardener cooler!
What plants do good in shade? Many people have this assumption that plants need full sun and if they could literally keep them in sun 24 hours a day they would but the plants would not thrive and would very likely die. Just as we need sleep to recharge our brain and without light and dark we’d lose our mind a bit. It’s the same way with plants.
There are tons of plants that do well in partial shade. The thing about full shade is that is almost never exists year round. There are always spots that get mottled sun or partial shade.
Blackberries, Ribes – currents and gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries to a degree. ginseng
Trees – pawpaw – full sun for best fruit production but planted in the open is a recipe for disaster. When young the trees will get scorched and die. They are meant to grow in the woods under shade. They have large leaves that need windbreak. Best bet is to use in a mottled sun location or open up the canopy and use your open areas for fruit trees that can survive cooler and stronger winds (not to mention…actual sunlight!).
Annuals – Lettuce, spinach, root crops, kale, parsley, oregano, peas, brassicas, mint
Mushrooms – shiitake, maitake, king stropharia, etc.
What about livestock – YES
Rabbits in particular need the shade especially in the Summer. Undulates like goats, sheep, cows. Pigs will get sunburnt! Chickens often find the shade as well.
Some tips – Realize that shady areas may not be during the winter/fall. Use tree cover to shade in the spring/summer and to let sun in during fall/winter.
For things that require some sun, take advantage of what you get. Morning sun is usually better than afternoon.