Many gardeners think they are doing something wrong when they don’t get the crops they were expecting.
Just because your yields are down doesn’t mean your gardening for beginner’s techniques is wrong, it may be down to your garden.
We know most veggies grow well in around 6 hours of full sunlight per day, however, some like more, and some like less. Adding to this, many gardeners lack the space they yearn for and only grow a couple of veggies here and there and often take up container gardening.
You can turn all this around and learn how gardening for shade rather than growing in full sun in your garden can open up an entirely unknown world of fresh veggies you never considered.
In this guide, you can find out the best fruits and vegetables that grow in the shade, and how you can make the most from your gardening in the shade efforts. (Read best outdoor gardening bench)
What Veg Grows Well in Shade?
Herbs are one of the best things to garden in shade, as most can get away with around 4 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, they do thrive quicker if they can get more full sun.
- Chervil, Chives
- Coriander, Cilantro
- Parsley and Thyme
One to watch out for is Mint as this can quickly take over a garden if not tended to. The best solution is to grow any mint in a container away from full sun and in a partial shade area so its growth can be controlled.
What Edible Plants Grow in Full Shade?
When gardening in shade, it often means plants have around three hours of sun exposure per day, and partial shade, and not in a blackout area of your garden when growing.
Here are a few edible plants that are ideal for growing around your garden in the darker corners, as long as they get a few hours of sunlight.
- Ginger: Most root vegetables will tolerate the lack of sun. Ginger will thrive well in partial shade, and all in needs is a warm area and some humidity. You can use ginger for cooking, and the leaves used for salads or made into tea.
- Fenugreek: Fenugreek is a nutritious green leafy vegetable cultivated in South Asia which is easy to grow. You can use it in your salads, soups or many other recipes.
- Malabar Spinach: Malabar spinach is a creeping spinach which grows naturally in the tropics. They grow in semi-shady and moist soil. You can cultivate this green leafy vegetable all year round in the shade when your climate is frost-free, but otherwise, it is an annual.
- Pak Choi: Pak Choi or Bok Choi is also known as Chinese cabbage, is a versatile plant that you can grow from the spring to the autumn. It loves cool weather, so you can take advantage of this and find it is one of the best-growing plants in the shade.
What plants thrive in deep shade?
You won’t find any vegetables to grow in the shade that cuts off all the sun; likewise, these here don’t need full sun all day like some veggies, and love partial shade.
If you have dappled shade, these crops here will thrive, although the results may be smaller come harvest due to growing with reduced sun.
Lettuce – 2 to 3 hours of light: Lettuce has an extremely high tolerance for shade, however for best results stick to lettuce varieties such as Red Salad Bowl and Simpson’s Elite. Also, avoid lettuces which need more maturing time and yield smaller heads.
Asian Greens – 2 to 3 hours of light: With a range of different leaf shapes, textures, colors and flavors ranging from mild to spicy, there is sure to be an Asian favorite for even the most discerning eater. These grow in shady vegetable beds and produce fresh leaves all summer long.
Beets – 3 to 4 hours of light: When you grow the beets in partial shade, they produce a generous crop of leafy greens, but the roots are smaller. Baby beets can be sweeter than the larger roots tend to be once matured and harvested.
Spinach – 2 to 3 hours of light: Spinach is a cold season veggie and rapidly bolts when you pass from spring to summer. However, it is possible to harvest sweet tender spinach through the summer if you sow it in areas that offer cool shaded areas.
What Herbs and Vegetables Grow in Shade?
Here are some of what vegetables grow in the shade.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage from the genus Brassica grow with tighter heads and later bloom under the partial sun of about 4-6 hours per day.
In the case of broccoli and cauliflower, you may have a second, smaller harvest after you cut the main central head off.
Peas and Beans
A shady place extends the growing season of peas and beans! These vegetables can flourish well with about 4-5 hours of sunshine a day.
Be sure to pick peas and beans regularly to promote further growth.
Leeks and Onions
Leeks and onions thrive very well growing in cooler, humid environments. They can manage with at least 4 hours of sun per day. (Learn How to Grow Onions in Pots)
Leafy greens such as cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard are frequently eaten cooked. They are slower growing in 3-4 hours of sun per day but are tenderer and sweeter than the smaller members of their species.
You may harvest root vegetables from your garden like carrots, potatoes, radishes, swedes, and turnips well before reaching their full size. You can have tender baby veggies or hang on for a mature crop. (Read best vertical garden towers)
They will take slightly longer to reach their adult size with 4-5 hours of sun, but part shading in your garden prevents them from bolting too quickly.
Radishes like to have a little shade from the summer heat so that they don’t become woody.
It is also important to water vegetables to grow in shade consistently to prevent woodiness. Do not forget that the delicious greens of turnips, beets and radishes can still be harvested if the root remains small.
Read more: Best Gardening Boots For Women