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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Velaryon's Avatar

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    Default plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Last year I was offered free tomato plants. While I live in a 2nd floor apartment, I do have a balcony porch so I figured it was worth a try to grow some. I bought a planter, got some advice from a helpful employee at Menards, and gave it a shot.

    The plant continued to grow all summer and fall, but never sprouted a single tomato. My best guess it that the sunlight was inadequate, thanks to the big tree growing outside which is close enough that squirrels often jump back and forth between the tree and the porch.

    The tomato plant died over the winter but I still have the planter, so I might as well try something else. But is there anything I could grow that could thrive despite not getting a ton of sunlight?
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Togath's Avatar

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Mints usually grow pretty well almost anywhere. Spearmint, mojito mint, orange mint, and lemonbalm are all year-round leaf producers too.
    For more fruity stuff, blueberries might work(or their cousins pink/black huckleberries).
    I think currants(red & black, plus gooseberries) can also handle shade well. But those can be a bit harder to find.

    edit: as weird as it sounds, kale might work too. As long as you don't cut down the main stem it can potentially produce leaves year round.
    Last edited by Togath; 2019-04-16 at 10:53 PM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Aren't blueberries a real pain in the butt to keep alive? I remember my parents discussing their failures to grow them.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    How deep is the planter? If it has a reasonable depth (at keast a foot), and you get at least partial light, you might try carrots. My planter gets sun in the afternoon only and they grow very well there. They mostly seem to likke being above the ground. Might be able to get parsnips going too.

    No personal experience, but t'internet says leafy crops like spinach & chard are best veggies for full shade

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Philodendrons and spider plants are your classic "impossible to fail" plants.

    If you want something actually food-related, rhubarb does surprisingly well partial light- I've got a row of rhubarb that grows right up next to a tall fence and they grow ENORMOUS despite only a few hours of direct light a day.

    Prayer Plants are pretty easy and have nice decorative leaf patterns.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Aren't blueberries a real pain in the butt to keep alive? I remember my parents discussing their failures to grow them.
    My understanding (also largely garnered from my parents garden), is that they are hard to get established, but once established grow well. However, they also grow very large, which may be more than you want on your apartment balcony. I believe there are dwarf varieties available, but I suspect they are probably even more finicky to establish, so I'd avoid that.


    I second the advice of rhubarb, though. They are fairly self-reliant, although they do need regular water I think, and they will grow in nearly full shade. The only two downsides I can think is that A). you have to like rhubarb, and not everyone does, and B). they're not exactly... aesthetically attractive plants. The lower leaves tend to die back and decompose over time, turning brown and then black, which isn't pretty. But if you don't care about that, they should be fine.

    @OP: what did you plant your tomato in? Strong leaves but no fruit sounds like an excess of nitrogen, which could be caused by your choice of potting mix. Commercial potting mix is designed to encourage growth, but depending on what else was in the planter, it may have over encouraged it, by the sound of your description.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    A couple cents on the topic of blueberries.

    I've never grown em, but I do live in bloob-land. I can tell you that you'll want a LOT of drainage if they're not getting a ton of light. The best tasting bloobs I've ever found are usually around like 500-1000 ft up from sea level on rocky-ass mountains. Dunno what blueberry FARMS look like but that's what gets you good bloobs in the wild.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Quote Originally Posted by Otomodachi View Post
    If you want something actually food-related, rhubarb does surprisingly well partial light- I've got a row of rhubarb that grows right up next to a tall fence and they grow ENORMOUS despite only a few hours of direct light a day.
    It's a known property of the plant - there is a technique called rhubarb forcing that deliberately invokes this.
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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    In my experience, tomatoes actually do like a whole lot of sun. That's why we grow them in greenhouses or right by the window up here in the far north, even though we have surprisingly lots of sun in the summer.

    If there's not enough rain, blueberries will be tiny, if any.
    Good luck with whatever you pick
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    This makes me think about the dandelion comic strip where the dandelion is absolutely thrilled to be growing in a crack in the sidewalk. You need a happy dandelion!
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-05-07 at 10:07 AM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Chives! And they're perennials too!

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    2D8HP's Avatar

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    Default Re: plant to grow on my porch that doesn't get a ton of sunlight?

    Get a "Phototron" hydroponic grow box to supplement sunlight.
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