By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Most vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight to flourish. However, you shouldn’t overlook the shade loving vegetable. Partially or lightly shaded areas can still offer benefits in the vegetable garden. Not only can shade offer temporary relief from intense summer heat for vegetables that like cooler weather, but shaded tolerant vegetables can actually be a source of both early and late harvests when planted in succession.
Growing Vegetables in a Shady Garden
Light conditions vary in the shady garden, depending on its source. While many vegetables need a lot of light, a select few will actually thrive in the cooler, darker areas of the shade garden. Therefore, it is possible to grow vegetables in the shade.
Leafy vegetables, like greens, are the most shade tolerant while root and fruit crops, which largely depend on light for their flowers, require more sun. For instance, tomatoes and squash plants thrive in full sun most of the day. Potatoes and carrots grow well in sun for at least half the day. Leafy vegetables, on the other hand, will tolerate partial shade without any problems.
These can also be planted in succession, used as filler plants, and be picked anytime, so you have the opportunity to enjoy them from spring through fall.
Vegetables That Grow in the Shade
Here is a list of the most tolerant shade loving vegetable plants to put in the dark corners of the garden:
- Swiss chard
- Broccoli (and related plants)
- Turnip (for greens)
- Mustard greens
If you have shady areas in the garden, there’s no need to let them go to waste. With a little planning, you can easily grow vegetables in the shade.