Can I be productive on terrace north side?

merryp(9)January 26, 2014

Hello! I am moving to Barcelona, Spain and would like to grow as many vegetables as possible on my ground floor terrace. My question: What will and won't be possible for a nice vegetable and herb garden lasting as long as possible?

The the apartment I most love has a sizable terrace which is oriented northwest in the large courtyard for a block of buildings. I am told it has:
- 6 hours of direct sun from 1 pm to 7 pm in the summer months, June-September
- 4 hours direct sun in the late spring and early autumn
- 2 hours direct sun in the early spring or late autumn.
- No direct sun for 3-4 months (November-February).
The photo above was taken in December.

I am relatively new to urban gardening, having previously grown in the ground on the south side of my home in Michigan, with a much more limited growing season than I will have in Barcelona. I have read much on container gardening, but I am having trouble determining how limited I will be by the sun conditions for this north facing terrace.

Will I do alright, or should I strongly consider waiting for an apartment with a south facing terrace so that I can produce more food in more months? Thanks!

This post was edited by merryp on Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 14:05

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zzackey(8b GA)

6 hours of sun sounds like enough to grow almost anything.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:49PM
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glib(5.5)

I disagree. if it were 6 hours for six months, yes. But it is six hours for three months. I would concentrate on herbs, root crops, cabbage, greens. The fruiting plants will be limited. If you insist on fruits, I would go with zucchini and beans. You can however grow things in full shade in the winter, since it is Zone 9. Lettuce for example, and you will still have some herbs.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Creek-side(5)

What time of day was this picture taken? Was it sunny?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:05PM
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merryp(9)

That first photo was from the real estate company, so I don't know. Let me post a few that I took at 11:15 am, and it was sunny. Solar noon is between 1:00 and 1:30 pm this time of year in Barcelona.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:36PM
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merryp(9)

Another.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:38PM
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merryp(9)

Last one. These three photos were taken January 22nd.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:40PM
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Syntria(8a)

Maybe not very related, but that area is absolutely beautiful. Its a shame you don't get more direct sunlight.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:30AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Sorry! I was thinking your winters would be too cold to garden.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:19AM
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merryp(9)

I want to thank everyone for their help so far. It is such a beautiful space, and I too wish it got more sunlight. I would like to grow tomatoes, different varieties of peppers, and a lemon tree in addition to those plants glib suggested. There are two street balconies on the opposite side of the property which are southeast.facing and on a very wide avenue such that sun is not blocked much by buildings. Even with the very low sun in January, the balconies were getting four hours of sun, which I'm sure will increase in the spring and summer.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:39AM
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courtneysgarden

Looks very nice but lack of sun will probably hinder growth of plants that like a lot of sun like tomatoes & peppers.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:48AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

From what I've seen of the weather in a Barcelona Summer you will be grateful for any shade you can get. I think you will be able to grow tomatoes without any problems. But even if you can't you will be living in a city with some of the most fabulous fresh produce markets anywhere.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:56PM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

At my house the north side is the spot that gets the most sun due to trees/buildings that shade the south side for most of the day. I grow plenty of vegetables with what I've got, which is fairly similar to you (sunlight hours-wise anyways). 6ish hours for 4 months (~120 days) I would imagine to be enough.

But like someone else said, the summer's heat may be a problem. Of course that's a pretty easy problem to handle by using the material used for row covers as a buffer and finding what cultivars are locally grown and proven in that environment. I've never been to Spain so I don't know what it's like, but I have been to Iraq and they grow plenty of vegetables in 120*F, so I know it can be done.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:14AM
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Campanula UK Z8

trained morello cherries, currants, strawberries, saladings, herbs

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:42AM
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