Growing Vegetables in the Shade

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Many readers ask how they can grow vegetables and fruit in the shade.  A shady spot may not be the best place, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! In this short video, we explain which crops grow well in the shade and how to make the most of the light that is available to get the most from your garden.

Check out our online Garden Planner which you may try for free!

Growing Vegetables and Fruit in the Shade

In all but the hottest climates, use the sunniest parts of the garden to start seeds in a seedbed or in pots or modules, then transplant them to another bed once they are larger and more able to cope with shade. Using grow lights indoors can give early-sown seedlings a boost.

Reflect any available light into shadier parts of the garden by painting walls and fences white, or use mirrors and other reflective surfaces such as shiny metal or foil.

Shadier corners are slower to warm up in spring and quicker to cool down in fall, so use cold frames or row covers to warm up the soil earlier and extend the growing season later on.

Slugs and snails often lurk in shady areas, so use beer traps and delay laying mulches until the weather warms up.

Leave plenty of space between plants to help maximize light penetration.

Veggies to Grow in Shade

Leafy plants such as lettuce, arugula, kale and chard are happy with just three to four hours’ sunshine a day.

For areas that receive morning sun then afternoon shade, try vegetables such as celery, carrots and bush beans.

Areas that are shaded in the morning but sunny by afternoon are great for climbing vegetables like outdoor cucumbers and beans that will clamber up supports into the sunshine.

Fruits to Grow in Shade

Sour (acid) cherries, currants and gooseberries and are the best fruits to grow in shade. Train them as cordons or as fans against a wall to ensure the branches are well spaced so light can reach all parts of the plant.

Cane fruits such as blackberries and raspberries can also cope with some shade.

Our online Almanac Garden Planner makes it simple to choose crops suitable for shadier spots. Click on the Custom Filter button, select the ‘Partial Shade Tolerant’ option and click ok. The selection bar will then display just those crops suitable for growing in these conditions. Easy!

Click here to try the Almanac Garden Planner for free for 7 days!  We hope you’ll like it enough to keep the garden going!

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