Thinking of growing shade tolerant vegetables because you don’t have a sunny open space?
Many people dream of growing vegetables and herbs in their own backyards or patios. Too many people don’t have the means to build a full garden box or planter. So in this case, what options are available to you, then? Plenty, actually.
Individual garden pots and window boxes are a small, easy, convenient way to grow plants of all kinds indoors and out. But how do you go about it?
What plants are you capable of growing? If you’re able to meet the specific needs of each plant, you can grow a variety of shade tolerant vegetables and plants.
The number of edible plants and vegetables that can tolerate shade or do not require much sunlight to grow is actually quite staggering.
Advantages to Growing Shade Tolerant Veggies & Other Crops
There are actually many advantages to growing crops in partial shade rather than full sun.
- For one thing, growing leafy shade vegetables are going to be a lot more succulent and that trademark bitter taste will be far less in evidence.
- You’ll also have a lot longer window of time for growing for better growing opportunities.
- And of course, your precious harvest will be spared the scorching heat of the summer sun you’d otherwise worry might wilt them.
There are three different kinds of gardens possible to set up, depending on the desired vegetables. These are the factors any gardener must carefully consider before deciding what kinds of crops to grow.
Depending on what you want to grow, and especially depending on the circumstances of your location, your choice depends entirely on the type of setup you build.
It’s important to pay close attention to what sort of sunlight you have where you are as opposed to how much shade you get.
You can grow anything you want as long as you allow for the conditions. Once you know this information, you can start to focus on what you’d like to grow and how.
Garden Types for Shade Loving Plants
The three garden types are as follows:
1. Deeply shaded
Just as the name sounds, it’s a garden where sunlight is all but nil, where full shade vegetables and herbs will thrive best.
The only problem is that even these crops need a little bit of sunlight in order to grow. So if you have a deep shade garden, you might struggle to grow anything with vigor.
2. Lightly shaded
This kind of garden only receives a couple of hours of sunlight per day, so definitely take your desired crops into account when setting up your garden plot or pots.
You’ll want to focus on root veggies and leafy veggies for the best effect. You can set up this kind of garden either under a thick tree canopy or in the shadow of a building, such as your home.
It’ll also be well ventilated with a fair amount of reflected light.
3. Partially shaded
This garden, as opposed to a full-sun garden, will receive about six hours of sunlight per day, experiencing more sunlight in either the early or later parts of the day, but never both.
This is a trickier garden to maintain, but you stand a very real possibility of growing some varieties of fruiting plants, such as tomatoes and peppers.
Ultimately, your climate and microclimates are going to be the final deciding factor for your choice in gardens and the kinds of crops you can grow in them.
Always consider the amount of sunlight and how well-protected your plants are going to be. Are they at threat from animals? Birds? The sun itself?
As long as your plant is kept relatively happy despite the lack of full sunlight, they’ll still yield results for you. Just be prepared to give a little more of yourself to their care and attention.
Shaded gardens definitely require less water and fertilizer. Moisture is more easily retained without the sun to drain it away constantly, especially if mulch is involved. You can even use larger plants to provide more shade for smaller plants.
If you’re dedicated to the idea of a shady garden in your home where direct sunlight is difficult to attain, then your dream isn’t that ambitious.
Below is a small list of the different kinds of shade tolerant vegetables and herbs you can tackle.
Leafy Greens That Grow Well in Shade
- Pak choy / Bok choy
- Kang kong
- Mustard greens
- Chinese cabbage
- Swiss chard
These are all a list of shade and partial shade vegetables (leafy greens) — the ones that can tolerate shade or can be grown in little to no sun.
The best thing you can do for shade tolerant vegetables is to keep them in pots that you can move and shift around to acquire whatever sunlight they can get. Otherwise, you risk them growing stringy and weak. It’s best to stick to produce you’d grow for their leaves and roots.
Root vegetables mostly rely on nutrients found in the soil and therefore, don’t need much sunlight.
You’ll want to be sure to avoid most fruiting crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. These are happiest in gardens that receive eight or more hours of sunlight every day.
This makes them very difficult to grow in portable pots and window boxes where shade might be most prevalent.
Vegetables That Grow in Shade
- Brussels sprouts
Any of these shade tolerant vegetables will survive and thrive in shaded areas such as pots. They don’t need a lot of light in order to receive nutrients as long as their other needs are satisfied.
Your best bet to growing anything in a partial shade garden is to specifically choose crops adapted to such conditions, especially if you’re a gardener who has the itch but doesn’t have access to full sunlight.
If you live in an apartment, for instance, gardening can be somewhat tricky. In this manner, sometimes proper innovation can work wonders when your resources are limited.
Herbs That Grow in Shade
- Stinging Nettle
- Garden cress
- Lemon balm
- Sweet Flag
- Sweet woodruff
- Golden Oregano
- Wild Bergamot
It’s important to remember that any crops grown in partial shade are likely going to take more time to mature and thus, will take longer to harvest.
It’s advisable to start with a handful of seedlings to see how they fare before diving headlong into the project.
Similarly, you’ll also want to take into account that the size and harvest of your herb garden will be considerably less than it would be with a traditional outdoor box.
There are things you can do to allow more light to reach your garden. These include painting nearby walls or fences white to force more light to reflect on your crops.
Proper research will work wonders for your ideas. Combine that with the right amount of effort, and you’ll be looking at a fruitful harvest the entire summer — shade or no shade.