May through September are the best times to measure the daily sunlight exposure your gardens (or potential garden areas) receive. Why am I telling you this now? Well, it is a great time to plan a new edible garden. In many parts of the country you can still plan a fall edible garden stocked with kale, beets, swiss chard, lettuce and more!
Enthusiastic edible gardeners often locate their edible gardens in places that do not get optimal sunlight exposure. Observing or measuring garden sunlight exposure is a great idea and highly recommended before you invest a drop of sweat, a minute of time or a penny of your nest egg into creating an edible garden.
I have always done this the old-fashioned way by simply observing the sun and how it shines on various parts of my yard throughout the day. Those who read this blog know I prefer less use of technology because tech takes the romance out of edible gardening. However, I must admit that sunlight calculating devices have intrigued me for the past few seasons.
My curiosity finally got the better of me and I emailed one of the companies that makes these devices to see if they could send me some product samples to test out. The friendly folks at Luster Leaf Company sent me 2 samples of their model #1875 Sunlight Calculator.
I set up the device in minutes, turned it on and left it to do what it is designed to do–save me time by measuring the sun for 12 hours.
I conducted three full tests in 3 different areas of my yard. I already knew the sun exposure of the these areas and wanted to see how accurate the meter was. On all three tests the SunCalc performed well. It also shut itself off after the sunlight collecting period was over. That was a big plus because I forgot about the device during test #3 and wound up retrieving it the next day. I wish I had this device when I first mapped out my gardens!
My only gripe is that one of the SunCalcs I was using ran out of batteries after just a single use. It was brand new in the package, but I suspect it may have had old or faulty batteries. The batteries are replaceable, so it was not the end of the world.
I would recommend using this device or one like it for sunlight exposure measurement. It seemed accurate enough and can surely save a busy gardener some precious time. More time for weeding, watering and harvesting!