Most people consider a sunny patch of land to be the only place to grow vegetables. That’s not exactly true. While a sunny location is the best for vegetable growing, it’s not the only location that will produce food. Certain vegetables can be grown in the shade under certain conditions, like receiving a couple hours of indirect bright sunlight each day. If you find yourself with the challenge of a shady landscape and a desire to plant a garden, give these vegetables a try and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Define the Shade
Not all shade is create equal. Fully shaded areas receive no direct sunlight, partial shaded areas receive some direct sunlight each day and areas in dappled shade receive sunlight that is filtered through tree leaves or other structures. All present challenges, but vegetables can be grown in any type of shade. Once the shade has been defined and the amount of sunlight (in hours) has been calculated, choose from this list of best vegetables to grow in shade.
* Asian greens, like bok choi and tatdsoi, grow well with just two hours of sunlight per day.
* Mesclun is a delicious salad green that will yield up to three harvests per season with as little as two hours of sun each day.
* Loose leaf lettuce grows well when planted in a shady garden spot that provides at least three hours of sun each day. Lettuce grown in shade will actually produce a longer harvest than lettuce grown in full sun.
* Mustard greens and spinach will produce tender baby greens when grown in a shady garden that receives only three hours of sun per day.
* Scallions, garlic, chives, cilantro, parsley, oregano and mint do well with only three hours of sun each day.
* Arugula and kale enjoy being grown in a cool, shady location and only need about fours of sunlight per day.
* Root vegetables, like carrots, radishes, turnip and beets will grow slow and produce small in shady areas, but they will grow and taste great with at least four hours of sunlight per day.
How to Increase Sunlight
A few tricks can be employed to increase the sunlight that a shady garden receives and thereby increases it’s productivity. Remove any low hanging branches on nearby trees and shrubs so the area will be brighter. Plant is raised beds to slow down the moisture wicking of nearby trees and shrubs. Paint nearby walls a bright white to reflect the sunlight in the area and use reflective mulch (consider aluminum foil) to give garden plants more light.
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