The third part of the yard in which I did a sun study was the part of the yard that I’m calling “The Orchard.”
It’s obviously not a real orchard, but most of our fruit trees are here: a couple apples, three plums, two pears, and some figs. Our recently planted hazelnuts are also in this area. There is also an old chicken coop, no longer in service (in the bottom right corner on the map above.
Despite it being in the backyard by the vegetable patch, this area actually get a surprising amount of sun – about six hours in the very center of the orchard, less at the periphery.
At 8 am, the sun peaks over the house and oak tree and hits the far west end of the orchard.
The center gets most full sun from about 11am to about 5pm. The far west end of the orchard gets some shade from large trees that are in the properties bordering ours. The east end of the orchard gets more shade from the oak tree.
The walnut tree – which shades the raised bed vegetable garden for much of the afternoon – is north of the orchard but south of the vegetable garden, and that makes all the difference. The orchard gets much more sun than most of the vegetable beds.
I considered trying to move the vegetable garden over here, but the yard is much steeper on this side, so I think it’s a really good space for all these fruit trees. The fruit trees need sunlight too in order to produce enough fruit and the trees shade the ground, so I don’t think there would be much sun at ground level after all. The plum is clearly loving its life this year: