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How To Sun Map Your Garden

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Plants are expensive. Even if you start them from seeds and you don’t have much money invested in them, you’re going to be investing time in getting them to grow. It would be incredibly easy if all plants needed the same amount of sunlight, and if all areas of your garden got the same amount of sun on a daily basis, but it just doesn’t work that way!

Some plants need full sun, which usually means that they need at least 6 hours or so of direct sunlight daily in order to grow properly. Partial sun or partial shade means that the plant needs between 3 and 6 hours of direct sun daily.

Dappled sun or indirect sun means that your plant needs 3-5 hours of sun, but that it shouldn’t be direct – in other words, plant it somewhere that the sun trickles through leaves or screen. Finally, some plants thrive in full shade, which means that they don’t do well with more than 3 hours of direct sun daily.

Now that we’ve gotten the definitions out of the way, let’s talk about how you can figure out where your plants would thrive the best before you plant them. It’s called sun mapping and will save you a ton of time and plants that don’t thrive.

How to Do It

Sun mapping will require that you be around the house for a full day, daylight to whenever the sun leaves your garden area, but then you’ll know exactly where you should put each plant.

You can actually buy kits that monitor your yard’s exposure for about twenty bucks but you only know how long the sun is shining in those particular spots. If this is good enough for what you need to do, go ahead and pick it up. All you have to do is put it in your garden, turn it on, and come back to it 24 hours later. It will give you all the information you need for that area.

Since, as preppers and homesteaders, we’re not particularly into depending upon a store-bought kit, you may be interested to know that there is a way for you to do it yourself with just some graphing paper, some colored pencils, and your time.

First, in order to sun map your yard, you’ll need to draw a fairly accurate depiction of your yard. Be sure to include any structures, including your house or garage, and trees that are going to shed shade over the area at any point because that’s going to be important. You don’t have to be dead accurate, but you want to be as close as possible.

Before you begin to sun map, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

Deciduous trees are going to lose their leaves in the fall and…