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Not everyone will have full sun in the garden all day long. Some may even have shadows for almost the entire day.
But don’t worry, there’s always a way to garden, even in the shadow.
Not every plant needs that much sunshine. Some plants will do well with just a couple of hours of sun a day. Some can even sustain themselves in the shadow of a tree throughout the day.
In this article, I will show you 25 shade-loving plants you can grow even if you don’t have enough sun in the garden
This plant is the first in the list of shade-loving vegetables in the garden.
Lettuce is a really easy plant to grow.
The plant is mostly grown in early spring and later in fall. Because it doesn’t like the hot sun all day, this is a wonderful plant to grow in the shadow.
Lettuce will even germinate slower and bolt faster when it’s standing too hot.
So, just start your lettuce seed and sow them where they only get a couple of hours of sun. And they will do just great.
They might grow a bit more slowly but they won’t bolt in the summer.
Make sure you give them enough water, especially when it’s really hot.
If you want to know a lot about growing lettuce, follow this link on growing lettuce.
This plant is, in fact, a cold-loving plant. You can even grow it in the greenhouse through the winter. So, this plant will love the shadow during the warmer months.
When other people brag about there summer crop, you’ll be able to brag about your winter crop that is totally out of season, but oh so yummy in a fresh salad.
As I’m writing this article, it’s the month of November and I just started some more arugula. The plant is quite hardy and really needs some shadow in the hot weather, unless you really need the seed.
I’m growing it, in the fall, in my greenhouse where I only get sun in the afternoon. So, even in the fall t only needs partial sun.
Arugula is a leafy green which spices up your salads with a nutty taste. A must-have in every garden.
Endive is a great vegetable to grow in the garden. It’s really healthy.
You can make a really good potato mash with steamed endive. I would eat it until I burst.
Just start your endive as you would start your lettuce. So, you can start it in small pots or you can sow them directly in their final space. The plant will take a bit longer to grow. But once you will taste the sweet-bitter leaves, you’ll be in love.
Did you know that endive is a chicory plant? There is one kind that is called red chicory or radicchio. In the partial sun, it will not turn dark red, but it will have a nice color and it’ll taste delicious.
If you want to know everything there is to know about endive. Read this article.
If you take the colored variety, you’ll get some nicely colored spots in your shade garden.
Just like red chicory, these plants need some sun but not a lot to thrive. The more sun it gets, the brighter the colors will be.
You can prepare both the leaf blade and the stalks. But most people use them separately to make delicious meals. The leaves are also really nutritious which makes them really good for healthy diets (something I maybe should look into)
Growing Swiss chard is easy, read this article to learn more.
Potatoes need full sun to grow big. But nothing prevents you from growing smaller, sweeter potatoes.
The plants will take longer to grow. Or, as mentioned above, will be smaller at harvest.
Smaller potatoes have the tendency to be sweeter. So, that can be a positive instead of a negative.
Try growing potatoes after reading this article on how to grow potatoes.
Just like potatoes, carrots are a root crop. They grow below the surface and don’t need all that much sun to grow.
They will grow more slowly but the taste will be the same. And you can grow them closer together to get more carrots in the same space. That way, you will get almost the same amount as someone growing in the sun. But you’ll have real finger-sized carrots.
Try growing your own carrots after reading this article on how to grow carrots from seed.
Parsnips, just like carrots, will grow slower in the shadow. But the plant is more of a winter root. So, growing in the shadow will go really well.
The plant may be a bit smaller but you can grow it for a full season and keep it in the ground until you want to eat it.
So, just give it a bit more time and the plant will do just fine and give you a nice harvest.
Start growing parsnips after reading how to grow parsnips in the garden
Radishes may be a bit more delicate but they will grow in the shadow. They do need a couple of hours of sunlight though.
You will also have to harvest them smaller. As radishes have the tendency to bolt early in summer, it’s better not to leave them in the ground for too long.
Just make sure, you check them daily once they start to bulb up.
You can read my article on how to grow radishes here.
Turnips are really delicious tubers. And they can be grown in partial shade.
With only a couple of hours of sun, you will be able to grow nice small turnip bulbs. Just like with radishes, don’t wait too long to harvest.
You can harvest some leaves while waiting for the final harvest. Turnip leaves are really tasty and fresh in a summer salad.
You can eat fresh turnips in about 2 months after reading this article.
The rutabaga is said to be a cross between the turnip and the cabbage. But this hybrid doesn’t taste any less.
The root and the leaves are edible. But the leaves are mostly used to feed livestock.
The plant can be eaten cooked or raw and there are many dishes to be made with this delicious hybrid.
Another plant in the list of shade-loving vegetables in the garden.
Although broccoli is, in fact, the immature head of flowers of the plant, it is a wonderful crop to grow in the shadow.
Broccoli doesn’t need much sun to grow nice tasty heads. In fact, it’s even easier to grow it in the shadow in the summertime than it is in full sun.
Not many people use the leaves of the broccoli plants but they are as edible as the head itself. Giving it some frost will make the leaves crunchy and sweet.
How to grow broccoli from seed?
Kale is not the all-time favorite in my family as I am the only one who eats it.
But I do grow kale through the winter. If you can grow a plant through the winter, it means it needs much less sun than summer plants. So kale is a really good shadow plant.
In the winter time, my kale plants only get about 3 hours of sunshine and they grow big and strong without any chemical fertilizers. If I can do it, so can you.
Grow kale like a pro after reading my article on how to grow kale.
Cauliflower follows a bit the same patterns as broccoli. With less sunshine, you’ll get tighter heads. And they will bolt much slower.
The plants don’t need 6 hours of sunshine to give you a nice crunchy harvest.
You can grow cauliflower easily too, just read this article on how to grow cauliflower.
Cabbage is broad-leaved. But if you want a nice firm big head, it’s better to grow them in partial shade.
Growing your cabbage plants in full sun will lead to smaller head and more loose leaves.
In our zone 8B, brussels sprouts are known as winter crops. But you can easily grow them early in spring and harvest in the summer.
The plant only needs about 2 to 3 hours of sunlight to grow nice delicious green sprouts.
Don’t overfeed with nitrogen because the sprouts will look like small flowers if you do so
Brussels sprouts take time to grow and have to grow slowly. Read everything you need to know in this article on how to grow brussels sprouts.
Another one of the 25 shade-loving vegetables in the garden.
With only 4 hours of sunshine, you can grow bush beans.
Unlike pole beans that mature later in season, bush beans like it a bit cooler.
They can take a bit longer to grow beans as they do need some sunlight to flower and grow the beans. But in the hear of the summer, you’ll be happy you planted them in partial shade.
Although not a shade-loving plant, I do want to talk about pole beans.
If you have a spot where the sun comes in at a height, for instance, due to a small hedge that is shading out the plants. You can still try to grow the pole beans.
I have a spot where I grow my pole beans and they only get sunshine at a height of about 1 meter. So I just put them in pots and grow them higher until they reach the sunny part.
Once a part of the plant is in full sun, the beans will thrive and you’ll get a harvest for a long time.
Growing peas is easy. But the plants need a bit of sunlight to grow flowers and eventually pea pods. About 3 to 4 hours of sunshine will make your harvest decent.
Peas don’t like the heat of summer so a shady place might even get them through the summer unharmed. Your harvest will be less in the shadow. But you’ll be able to harvest for a longer time.
Make sure not to overfeed on nitrogen, especially when the plants are in the shadow. You would get a lot of leaves but almost no pods.
Normally a pea plant can sustain itself in the shadow without any nitrogen amendment at all.
Peas are a must have in the garden. Read all about it in this article on how to grow peas.
Although not a vegetable, coriander is a much-used plant in the kitchen.
Cilantro really loves the colder weather. It will bolt really fast once the sun starts to heat up the garden in late spring.
Keeping the plant in partial shade or almost full shade in the summer will give you a harvest for a longer period. You will get more and bigger leaves. And it’ll take longer for the plant to start flowering.
This plant will take over your garden in no time. Whether it grows in full sun or in partial shade, the roots will spread and form new plants all over the place.
So, try to keep the mint plant in check. I personally on grow mint in containers, read about it in this article.
Parsley is another shade-loving plant. It doesn’t mind standing in the sun but it will do okay in partial sun as well. This tasty herb really loves to grow.
Just make sure that there’s enough wind blowing through the leaves. The plant is prone to get powdery mildew when there’s not enough airflow between the leaves. More info on this link.
Basil doesn’t need full sun either. I must say, it grows a lot faster in full sun.
when the plant is standing in the partial sun, it will grow slowly and a bit more spindly. But it’s easy to prune back several times so it forms more of a bush.
In the partial shade it’s more prone to disease, so be careful not to put it in too humid conditions.
Chives are, in fact, really tiny onions growing in bunches.
Instead of bulbing up to a really big size, the chives split and form new bulbs.
Chives can be easily grown in full sun or partial shade.
Although it will grow less vigorous in shade, the plant will still do good as long as the soil is fertile and nutritious.
This is one of the plants that have to be used to make soup. The plant is like a huge green onion and thrives in a moist and cold environment.
I personally grow leeks through the winter here in zone 8b so it’s easy to grow in partial sun in the summer.
I must say, there are certain kinds of leeks that thrive in full sun. So, always check the package of the seed to see whether it’s the winter variety or the summer variety.
Onions aren’t really rooting vegetables but they grow just like them. The bulb forms partially in the soil.
The plant does need a couple of hours in the sun but it will bulb up as soon as the days are getting longer.
Onions don’t need much attention for growing when given a good nutritious compost. They are susceptible to pests and diseases though. So make sure you check the plants often.
Closing on 25 shade-loving vegetables in the garden
This list is most certainly not final. And the list isn’t perfect either.
Depending on the plants you want to grow, you will really have to test out the conditions and the placement. Some plants will do much better than presumed and others will wilt and die.
Gardening is all about experimenting and that’s just what you should do. Start the plants from seed and it won’t cost you much at all.
So this is it for this article on 25 shade-loving vegetables in the garden, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.