North by northeast

I had a realization the other day that north wasn't where I thought it was and that the resulting shift in imagined versus actual sun exposure makes a lot of sense in explaining some of the challenges of my yard. For example, my side yards get blazing hot in summer, but remain damp and cool in winter. I've planted many (now deceased) things there that don't like either extreme. With the understanding that the "north side" fence does not really run E-W but rather NE-SW and accounting for the shift of sun angle winter to summer, I understand how the shade of my house can be as unrelenting in winter as the reflected summer sun can be six months later.

This ought to have been blindingly obvious years ago, but I persisted in using believing that I could account for the curved streets in my neighborhood using dead reckoning , even in the face of significant clues to the contrary. I'm replanning my kitchen porch / planting areas based on this tardy realization and considering the fate of a large and dense Brazillian Pepper tree that screens morning sun.

After this weekend's trip planned to the Payne Foundation, I think I'll be done with the natives for a while and I'll focus on my vegetable garden. Since some of my weird garden growth is now understood in the context of a better sun/shade model, I may be able to make wiser choices. One obvious solution is to use the front of the house for more food crops, since it gets the majority of the sun. Actually, the south-corner driveway is the ideal location for a vegetable patch. Well, some things aren't meant to happen.

I think that the soil in my vegetable garden needs a lot of organic amendments. My little composter doesn't really produce enough volume to remediate the soil, so I'll amend the soil if I have time.

The pictures below are nice because they were taken at different times of day and (presumably) in different seasons. They show some of the deep shadow that I have to contend with around the house.

I used Google maps satellite view, Terraserver, and a nice integrated mapping utility called Flash Earth.

My house is indicated with the green arrow here. See the deep shade in the back. My vegetable garden gets some of that shade.

In this picture the sun is a bit more southerly, judging by the angle of the shadows, so it must be closer to winter. You can see that the fence on the "south" side of the property makes a nice line of shade. I have sun-loving berries planted along the fence. They do well enough, but have always had a rust problem.

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