My Childhood & Market Gardening Days Seemed Full of Spring Sunshine. But This Year Is Sunless, Cold &Wet. How Can Veg Cope With Lack Of Sunshine.

We Brits dream of long, sunny days that awaken our gardens in spring to vibrant life and verdant growth. But what happens when spring arrives cloaked in clouds, leaving our fruit and veg craving sunshine? Whilst we might crave sunshine it’s an essential to plants. Personally I dislike a lack of sunshine, it doesn’t feel like spring.

Sunshine’s Role in Veg Growth

a lack of sunshine prevents herbaceous growth

Sunlight fuels photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn light energy into food (sugars) for growth and fruit/vegetable production. When sunshine dips below average, this vital process slows down, leading to a few challenges.

  • Slower Growth and Delayed Harvest: With less energy production, fruit and veg growth slows down, potentially delaying harvest and planting the next crop.
  • Weaker Plants: Sunshine helps plants develop strong stems. In low-light conditions, they might prioritise stretching upwards for any available light. They stretch up to reach more light, but there is no extra light and they suffer. The result is weaker stems, increased susceptibility to wind damage and increased susceptibility to pests and diseases .
  • Reduced Yields and Flavour: Low light can affect flower and fruit development, potentially leading to smaller yields and fruits/vegetables with less intense flavour.

Helping Your Plot To Thrive – Despite A Lack Of Sunshine

But fear not! Even with a cloudy spring, there are ways to give your fruit and veg a helping hand:

  • Positioning is Key: When planting seedlings or placing container veg, choose the sunniest spots in your garden. South-facing walls or areas with minimal shade are ideal.
  • Space it Out: Overcrowding can worsen the competition for light. Thin out overcrowded seedlings or established plants to allow for better sunlight penetration throughout the patch.
  • Feed for Strength: A nutrient rich fertiliser with a focus on phosphorus can help promote stronger stem development, making plants more resilient in low-light conditions. But they also need plenty of leaf as well so they need nitrogen. Of course the reality is that all the macro nutrients are essential at this stage and a good slow release fertiliser is an ideal way of delivering it to them.

Embrace the Sunless Tolerant Survivors

While some veg struggle, others thrive in lower light. Consider these UK-friendly options for a productive harvest:

  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, lettuce, and Swiss chard are happy with slightly less direct sun and will readily reward you with fresh salads throughout the season. The reason being they have plenty of leaves. But happy is a relative term and they still need a lot of light to do really well.

Floating Mulches, Crop Covers, Fleeces Etc

A greenhouse or polytunnel keeps out the rain and cold winds. This helps promote growth. Likewise fleece, or similar, is good art reducing wind and chill problems to an extent.

Use any of the above to protect the crop and you will see improved growth.

Remember: A cloudy spring doesn’t have to mean a disappointing harvest. By understanding the challenges and taking some proactive steps, you can still help your fruit and veg patch thrive and bring you fresh, homegrown produce even when light levels are low and weather cooler.. So keep an eye on the weather forecast, adjust your planting strategies, and celebrate the resilience of your garden!

Tag: Lack Of Sunshine

Join the Facebook Groups Here

To join the How to Dig For Victory Facebook group follow the link.

And here is the link to UK Garden Flowers, Trees, Shrubs & More

#BiteSizedGardening #Gardening #Vegetables #veg #fruitandveg #allotment #biointensive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.