Shade-Loving Vegetables

Growing Vegetables
Cauliflower Shade Vegetables

Most vegetables require a lot of sun to thrive, which can be a problem if you have a lot of shade in your garden. People without sunny places to grow their plants often assume they can't grow vegetables successfully, but this isn't entirely true. While there are certain vegetables you can't grow without lots of sun, there are also certain vegetables that can grow in partial shade without a problem.

In case your garden gets only 4 to 6 hours of sun per day, don't despair! There are many tasty vegetables you can grow to a great success. While certain veggies (such as tomatoes, peppers and squash) can't do without sun, there are some shade-loving vegetables you can grow successfully.

Growing Plants in Partial Shade

Generally speaking, if you want to grow a vegetable for its fruit or the root, you will need a sunny place to make it thrive. However, if you grow a plant for its leaves, buds or stems, you can grow it in the shade without a problem. Just make sure that the shade is a partial shade and not full shade. You need at least 3 hours of the sun to make vegetables grow successfully (the more the better).

Here is a handy list of vegetables you can grow successfully in the partial shade:

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens and collards)
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Salad Greens (leaf lettuce, cress, arugula, endive and radicchio)
  • Swiss Chard

This list is not extensive but these 10 vegetable types are the best candidates for shady areas of your garden. This is a great way to maximize your space and to use even the parts of your garden that don't get full sun. The good thing about shade-loving vegetables is that they can be grown almost anywhere.

For example, you can grow your salad greens or radishes in a handy container or a window box. Use perennial borders in your garden to grow beets or Swiss chard. Use partial shade on your balcony or patio to grow vegetables in containers.

Shade-loving vegetables allow you to use all of your space in the garden (or another place you can sue for growing plants, such as your balcony). If your garden has both sunny spots and shady spots, use the sunny ones for growing sun-loving plants (such as tomatoes) and the shady areas to grow shade-loving veggies. This way, you will be able to get a lot of the tasty and healthy vegetables for your family, straight from your own garden. You don't really need optimal conditions or a lot of sun to be able to grow your own vegetables. Just stick to the recommended veggies and you can have a great success growing them even in the partial shade.

Photo credit: Nick Saltmarsh

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