Posted: 23/03/2014 at 14:30
Hi there guys
I have just moved into a new flat, and it has a lovely, big patio with a 4x1m stretch of soil at the back, so I am hoping to start my first fruit and veg garden. I found this soil does reach deeper than a spade, although it is extremely rocky. The soil quality is on the sandy side, but as I can't afford all the new soil + compost I'd need for proper raised beds, I've decided to strain as many rocks as I can out and use them to create borders so I can raise the beds just slightly, and improve the existing soil with however much compost I can get my hands on.
The problem is, the patio is west facing, and this bed runs along the west wall, so a third of it is sunny, a third is partially shady and a third is in full shade. Furthermore, the buildings all around it add to the problem. I'm fairly confident I could grow raspberries, cauliflower or some herbs in the sunny corner if I build the soil enough. In the partially shaded bit I am thinking of peas, french beans, broccoli and maybe some lettuces. I am stumped though for what to do with the shaded bit. The soil is more waterlogged here, and I don't want to dump loads of compost into it if it has no chance of growing anything anyway. Will leafy greens grow in full shade, so I can have a little salad bar here? I also have a little gooseberry plant that I'm training at the moment, I heard gooseberry does well in full shade. If I keep that potted until it's bigger, and then plant it in the shady corner, would that be a solution?
Of course I am also using plenty of containers and vertical solutions on the sunny north and east walls, but I want to make the best use of all the earth I have here, any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Here are some pictures to illustrate the problem and show the soil quality.