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Is there such a thing as too much sun?

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Is there such a thing as too much sun?

Post  Universe Man on 5/7/2010, 11:50 am

When I sited my SFG, I chose a place that receives basically no shade. The sun clears the trees very shortly after sunrise and dips below the trees very shortly before sunset. And I am in central Florida, so we are talking about a whole lot of sun.

When I helped my friend nearby build a square foot garden, we chose the place in his yard that would get the most sun. But it's not nearly as much as mine gets. Say, half or a little more.

Both gardens are new so I do not have a lot of data to go by. But I am beginning to think my garden gets too much sun. We each bought collard greens and bell pepper plants from a local garden store. Mine have been in the ground for perhaps a little over a month. They are only a little bit bigger than when I bought them. They have always looked healthy but it's like they're in suspended animation. It reminds me of when I left sprouted tomato seeds in the vermiculite cups for too long and they just sat there, alive and healthy but frozen. His plants, on the other hand, are HUGE! And he planted his after mine. The soil composition is nearly identical (Mel's Mix, more or less). I don't know if he waters his more or less than I do--but again, my plants look healthy, just small. Really the only significant difference I can think of is the sun exposure.

I assumed that since so many plants require "full sun," I needed as much sun as possible. Now I'm thinking maybe my garden gets too much. Did I make a mistake?

I also have a little winter data, if it helps: we had lettuce that was very productive and delicious, and broccoli and cauliflower that grew like crazy but didn't produce much in the way of heads.


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Re: Is there such a thing as too much sun?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/7/2010, 12:38 pm

In Central and South Texas, plants that need full sun can be planted in an area which receives 6+ hours of sun a day and do fine, but warm weather plants will be just as happy with full sun as well. Collards and most greens are a cool weather crop and will not do anything when it is too hot -- they either just sit there or die. I would hazzard a guess that your friend's is doing better since it is in partial shade -- but that is only a guess. Some of us shade cool weather crops when it begins to get warm to help prolong the harvest, but the results will be mixed. I am still eating fall planted lettuce that overwintered and the spring lettuce is getting large but both are beginning to bolt. It has nothing to do with the age of the lettuce but the heat (96-98 here the past few days). Sorry I can't be of more help.

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Re: Is there such a thing as too much sun?

Post  Chopper on 5/8/2010, 12:28 am

Peppers are not a cool weather crop. Maybe try to light a fire under the little bugger in the form of food - either fertilizer or some fish emulsion or something of the sort. And check soil for dryness at the peak of the day. If it is dry and sunny I could see the problem.

Last edited by Chopper on 5/8/2010, 12:28 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)


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Re: Is there such a thing as too much sun?

Post  LaFee on 5/8/2010, 4:21 am

yes -- in Central Florida, the power of the sun can completely overwhelm some plants. Is it possible to put up a beach umbrella over your SFG during the hottest part of the day?

I found in the Tampa area that plants that used to do well in full sun in the north responded well to being in partial shade in Florida...so it may be that they're a little overexposed.

Keep an eye on the water levels, too -- until the daily rains start in June or July, the sun and heat and lack of rain can cook your garden (and YOU!) far faster than you'd ever think it would.


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Re: Is there such a thing as too much sun?

Post  JonRigby2005 on 5/8/2010, 9:10 am

I am in central fl also. My guess is lack of food. Did you harden them off before planting into the full sun? I have two bell peppers, one I hardened off the other I did not. The one I hardened off is now 8" taller and has more and larger peppers on it, both are in full sun. Oh, this time of year without the predictable rains, my soil/sand drys out quickly and I have to water almost daily, the florida sun is powerful. Check your soil moisture with your finger about 2" down. Good luck.


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