Shade Gardening: What If All You Have Is Shade?

These days many people are looking for ways to put the best food available on their table. One of the best ways to do this is to plant a garden. But when thinking about a garden, the first place that comes to mind is a nice sunny spot in the yard.

While this might be ideal, not everyone has a plot with full sun, but that’s no problem. There are lots of vegetable that will grow just as well with little amounts of sun. Vegetables that are grown in order to harvest their fruit or to use their roots usually need full sun to develop, but if you are going to use the stems or leaves, the plants can often be grown very successfully with just a few hours of sun a day.

So if you have a place in your yard that gets between three to six hours of sun a day, what types of vegetables can you successfully grow?

All types of lettuce and salad greens grow well in shade. Other greens such as mustard, turnip, collards or spinach also do well with little sun. Most beans and peas seem to thrive and produce a good yield in a shade garden. Other vegetables that a shade gardener could try are radishes, broccoli and cauliflower.

A garden in an area that is partly shady tends to need to be watered less frequently because there is less sun to dry out the ground. Also, vegetables that tend to stop producing due to the heat will often continue to produce a harvest longer if grown in a shady area. This means that you will get more produce from the space you have. These are just two benefits to having a shade garden.

Be creative when choosing a space for a shade garden. Add chard to a bed of your favorite perennials. Use large pots and have some lettuce growing just outside your kitchen door, ready to harvest on a night you want a big salad to complement a meal. If you have a window box, radishes or a mixture of various greens would fit in nicely and provide color and interest to the box while also helping to supplement your food supply.

Whatever type of space you have — whether full sun or shade — make the most of it and in this way you can double your vegetable production. And your family can enjoy some nice fresh vegetables beginning in the spring and all the way to the fall.