Sun and Shade Mapping (Permaculture Design)
For my 3rd homework assignment, I elected to map the sun on my property. I was once an energy auditor and weatherization contractor, so I have some experience mapping sun and shade for solar panel production analysis. Better yet, I still have my solar pathfinder. A solar pathfinder is a really handy tool that can tell you the amount of sun and shade in any place for the entire year. You don’t need to go out and map the sun three or four times a day in all the different seasons, you can do it all in one shot.
Here in Pennsylvania, the sun is very high in the sky, almost directly overhead for most of the spring and summer. The sun comes in at a much lower angle in the fall, and especially the winter. (30 degrees)
Site: Homestead for Phil & Denise Williams
Size: 5.5 acres
Slope: South facing mostly hilly terrain. There is fairly level land along the south side edge of the property, approximately 1.5 acres of the 5.5.
Design considerations based on the sun map:
1. We are very lucky to be drenched in sun for the majority of the property with our south facing slope.
2. On the negative side, I find myself searching for shady microclimates to plant some of my sun sensitive plants. I’m sure properly placed trees could remedy this.
3. The area between our garage and home (6) is a very shady spot near the front door and hose bib. This might be a good spot for shade loving herbs, and cool season plants to get a respite from the summer sun such as lettuce and peas. Or maybe this would be a good spot to start fall garden annuals. Currently, it is sparsely planted with azaleas.
4. The area behind our home (8) is the largest shady area we have, but this area is all shade, except in May, June, and July. This is an unnatural microclimate caused by our home. I’m not really sure if I want to do anything here, or what to do. I think more thought and research is needed. Currently it is a mix of clover, plantains, and fescue.