Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where's the Sun on YOUR Garden?

Wow, what a cool app! With this Google Maps hack, you can find the path of the sun across your own garden for any day of the year. Just plug in your address in the search bar.

According to the description on the site:

    SunCalc is a little app that shows sun movement and sunlight phases during any given day at the given location.

    You can see sun positions at sunrise (yellow), specified time (orange) and sunset (red). The thin orange curve is the current sun trajectory, and the yellow area around is the variation of sun trajectories during the year. The closer a point is to the center, the higher is the sun above the horizon. The colors on the time slider show sunlight coverage during the day.
The default is set for the current day, but I was able to change the dates and get the trajectory for both the shortest day of the year in winter, and the longest (summer) day. Knowing the winter trajectory makes a big difference in where I should locate cold frames and a future, wished-for greenhouse. I had a good idea of the summer sun's path although I was a little bit 'off', but I was woefully off on the winter sun. Probably because I grow nothing in winter so I don't pay as much attention.

Since I have hopes of eventually doing some winter gardening a la Eliot Coleman's Winter Harvest, this little app is a treasure for planning. It gives me a great location for a possible greenhouse when I win the Lottery! Sure wish I'd had something like this when we first looked at this property... the gardener in me might have passed on buying it.

I will also use this online calculator in planning the placement of a solar collector for heating water when I can get to it as a project.

Update, just after Thanksgiving: I plugged in the shortest day and the longest day again for my house today, and took a "Grab" screen shot of them. There is a choice in the app on the upper right for a road map type image, or a satellite image, and by looking at both images on those 2 dates, I now know exactly where to plant 4-5 deciduous shade trees for optimum shading of this house in summertime. Cool, huh?

For less trouble, there is a little gadget available (photo above) that you can place in a container or garden bed for 24 hours and it will give you total sunlight hours (categorized as full sun, partial sun, part-shade, shade), although it will not tell you whether it is hot midday sun, early morning sunlight, or late afternoon sunlight. It would be handy in the garden, esp. if taller plants tend to shade another, lower plant.


  1. unfortunately, your link doesn't work. :(

  2. Thanks for letting me know. I changed it, but you can just copy and paste this in your browser:


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