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Growing Vegetables in the Shade

Growing Vegetables in the Shade

Most vegetable plants require six or more hours of sunshine to grow their best. But many gardeners face situations where trees, buildings, walls and fences create shade and shadows that dramatically reduce the amount of time an area receives direct sunlight. Fortunately there are quite a few vegetable varieties that don't mind relaxing in the shade for most of the day.

If you have an area that receives 3-4 hours of direct sunlight, or a combination of direct sunlight and dappled shade through the day, try some of the vegetables on this list. They may not grow as large as a plant in full sun, but they should be productive enough to satisfy your taste for home-grown produce. Bonus: plants growing in shade require less water to stay moist; conserving resources and your maintenance time.

Leafy green vegetables grow particularly well with a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight. Many of these grow best in the cool temperatures of spring and fall so the protection shade provides actually extends their growing season:

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Mesclun
  • Spinach
  • Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Komatsuna, Vitamin Greens)
  • Kale
  • Arugula

Any of these root vegetables are just as delicious harvested in a young, petite stage as they are when grown to full maturity. This means that even though the vegetables may be smaller-sized as a result of growing in lower light, you can still expect great flavour and texture:

  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Scallions
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli

All of these herbs grow well in shaded conditions:

  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Basil

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Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)

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