Gardening in areas that are partial shade? Here are 5 incredibly easy vegetables that grow beautifully in a garden with areas of partial shade.
If you like to utilize every part of your garden but have a considerable amount of shade, don’t panic. There are several vegetables that grow easily in partial shade – no matter what time of the year.
Every year, I seem to introduce more and more plants to our backyard garden. It’s fun to see how much yard I can transform into usable growing space – and in a way, it’s almost a challenge for me.
I don’t know about you, but I have a fair amount of partial shade depending on the time of the year. It’s quite a challenge to use this area wisely (and productively) – but not impossible.
5 Vegetables that Grow in Shade
Having areas of the yard that see limited amounts of sun can definitely be a challenge. However, it’s not impossible to adapt to. With the right plants, you can transform those areas to productive growing areas using just the right veggies.
Cabbage is actually one of my favorite veggies. It’s easy to ferment (hello – sauerkraut!) and can be used easily in soups and stews as well. Not only is it low carb, it’s a great item to add to stir fry for a little extra bulk.
Cabbage plants grow well in partial shade. However, cabbage plants do need at least 3-6 good solid hours of sun each day to help produce large, solidly formed heads. Cabbage that matures in cool weather is incredibly sweet.
If you are growing cabbage in an area of your garden that allows for partial shade, ensure that it is well-drained, most soil that’s rich in organic matter.
Whether you eat them on your salad, cook them in the pressure cooker or enjoy them pickled, beets are versatile. Beets are root vegetables that can tolerate partially shaded areas with less direct sunlight. Despite the fact that they tolerate partial sunlight, they do appreciate at least a half day of sun.
Though beets will do ok in partial shade, they will grow more slowly and take longer to mature compared to beets that are given a greater amount of sun.
Carrots are perhaps a favorite in our house amongst the kids. They resonate with everything “summer” – perhaps because they can be found at every summer BBQ or get together, laying out on a veggie tray with some ranch dip.
Carrots, like beets, are also a root vegetable that can tolerate partial shade. Much like beets, they will grow more slowly and take longer to come to maturity than carrots that are given more sun. The more sun you can provide to your carrot crop, the faster they will mature.
Kale is a wonderful leafy green – and leafy greens like chard, collards, mustard greens and kale need just a few short hours of sun each day. That’s definitely great if you have a shady area.
When comparing kale that’s grown in partial shade to kale that’s grown in full sun, you won’t see much reduction in growth. Keep in mind though that not all shade is equal. Some shady conditions will yield more prodduce than others, depending on the type o f shade that area receives.
Shade from the canopy of nearby trees is different than the type of shade that walls or buildings can provide – especially for hours at a time.
Lettuce is another leafy green that’ll tolerate partial shade. Although lettuce does tend to grow rather fast in full sun, it does ok in some shade, especially in areas of the U.S. that receive relatively warm spring temps. Here in Arizona, the afternoon sun can get relatively hot on even the most sensitive plants. It’s during this time that partial shade can be a blessing.
Lettuce is also the perfect shady crop for a small space. You can even grow it in a container and have it do relatively well. A successful soil for lettuce is not only moist, but well-drained, rich in organic matter with a pH of 6-7. Next time you are at the nursery, grab a soil testing kit to test your shady-area soil before planting lettuce.
Potatoes are another popular veggie that will tolerate partial shade and produce tubers under the soil. These tubers need protection from sunlight (and thus will tolerate partial shade). Above ground, however, potatoes will grow leafy plants that thrive in an area with full sun.
Tubers that don’t get enough shade will start to turn green – so it’s important to keep those tubers out out of sunlight.
While every veggie needs at least a little sun to grow, plants that receive more sun will always mature slightly faster.
However, it’s helpful to know that you can establish a productive shade garden with the right veggies, well-drained, moist soil.