With the light constantly changing with the seasons, it can be hard to try and find things that will grow in the shadier parts of our gardens. Do you have an area of your yard that is shaded for part or most of the day?
Many vegetables grow in the shade. Some even thrive when they are protected from the heat of the sun.
The infrastructure on your property can make it challenging to find a place for your garden. The shadows thrown by this infrastructure change throughout the day and with the season as the sun shifts. Luckily, many edible plants can thrive in partial shade, dappled shade, or in as little as 3-6 hours of sunlight a day.
WHAT EXACTLY IS SHADE?The definition of shade in a garden is more diverse than we originally thought. It is important to remember that as the sun travels across the sky, the sunlight levels will differ throughout your garden through the day. Very few parts of a garden are always in full sun or total shade.
These changing levels can lead to four different, distinct microclimate definitions for the shadiness of a particular area:
Full Sun – Areas are receiving direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day.
Partial Sun / Dappled Shade – Areas which receive either sun for three to six hours a day, or more extended periods of dappled sunlight filtering through trees. Spots are receiving constant reflected light from painted walls and so on also count as being in partial sun.
Shade – Areas are receiving less than three hours of direct sun a day.
Deep Shade – Areas are receiving little or no direct sunlight, such as those in the permanent shade of a south-facing wall.
TIPS FOR GROWING VEGETABLES IN THE SHADE
• Choose vegetables and herbs adapted to shade.
• Start plants for shaded gardens in your grow house to speed up the harvest. Seed germination and early seedling growth can begin under optimal conditions before being transplanted to the shaded garden.
• Expect slower maturation of crops and scale down expectation of size and yield.
• Pruning away low tree branches and thinning out high branches will allow more sunlight to reach the garden.
• Painting nearby walls or fences white will allow more light to bounce into the garden. Light-coloured paving on driveways or sidewalks adjacent to the shaded gardens will reflect more light.
• walkways next to the shaded gardens will reflect more light.
• Grow vegetables in containers so that they can be moved into sunny spots as the season’s change
• They may need a bit more love so check them regularly
SHADE-FRIENDLY VEGGIES AND HERBS
Arugula, Pak Choy / Bok choy, Celery, Chicory, Brassica, Endive, Kale, Kang kong, Mustard greens, Chinese cabbage, Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss chard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Watercress
Beets, Broccoli, Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Turnips, Radishes, Rhubarb, Garlic, Peas, Kohlrabi
Basil, Catnip, Dill, Chervil, Chives, Stinging Nettle, Garden cress, Lemon balm, Lovage, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Valerian, Coriander, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme.
Basically, root crops and leafy vegetables can grow and potentially thrive in the shade.
What to read next?
This deck of cards helps you plan which vegetable to grow where, when and how using techniques from our Serious Backyard Abundance Workshop
Seed Raising Mix – While you can spend a lot of money on seed raising mix, it is much easier and cheaper to be able to do it yourself.
Our Urine is high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium. It is an excellent high nutrient liquid fertiliser in our gardens