best vegetables to grow in shade leafy greens

11 Best Vegetables to Grow in Shade

Do you live in an all shady areas? Are you are frustrated how much you can’t grow?

Well, I’m here to tell you that you are totally wrong. This post will help guide with the 11 best vegetables to grow in shade.

Although most of the vegetables that are put up in the garden today may require at least 7 hours of sunlight per day. There are a few others that are low light tolerant.

This means that you can finally make use of your small shady space and this will save you all the hustle of looking for a suitable garden space.

If you are wondering how this is even possible, here are the ground rules for growing plants.

When you are growing a plant simply because of its fruits or the roots you might need full sun for it to produce well.

However, there are other categories of vegetables that you will grow for their leaves, buds, stems, (in short the leafy greens).

best vegetables to grow in shade leafy greens

In such a case, a little shade is totally okay and it shouldn’t worry you in any way.

All in all, you need to keep in mind that no vegetable known will do well in total dense and full shade.

With that in mid, below I have complied a list of crops that will do well even if they are grown in the shade.

More to that, I will add any other relevant information that will help you make your shade gardening a success.

Shade Loving Vegetables Types of Shade

When we are talking about growing in the shade, it can be categorized in to three.

The light shade, partial or dappled shade, as well as the full shade. More on this below.

Full shade; also known as the deep shade is used to describe a garden that doesn’t receive any direct sun.

And in case by any chance light is reflected in to such a garden, it occurs in very little amounts. such a garden that has a dense or deep shade is not suitable for growth of any kind of vegetables.

The light shade; in this case, we are talking about a garden that receives at least 2-3 hours of sun each day.

Also, it could be a well aerated garden that is well illuminated during the day by either direct or indirect sunlight for the better part of the day.

This kind of light could have been bounced off from a building or even a white fence around the garden.

It could also be sitting under the shade of a distant building or a high canopy of a tree.

Most of the leafy crops as well as the root vegetables do well in such a lightly shaded garden.

Dappled shade; also known as partial shade is used to describe a garden that tends to receive at least three to eight hours of sun each day.

Besides that, it is lightly shaded and may receive dappled shade for the remaining part of the day.

Such a garden can only be sunny in the morning or on the afternoon, but has never been both.

The rest of the day a partially shaded garden will receive light or full shade.

This kind of a garden is ideal for growth of roof vegetables and leafy greens.

And if it gets from five or more hours of sunlight, some of the fruiting vegetables will do well without any troubles.

Which 11 best vegetables to grow in shade?

Broccoli is one of the favorite vegetables among most people, but the fact that it can grow well in the cooler temperatures and alongside the shadier parts of the garden, it makes it even better.

They will not look fantastic in the garden while growing in a perfect line along the edges but they will also give your garden a fun splash as they come is diverse colorful varieties.

Another good thing that you will love with about this plant is the fact that it is an easy to grow plant. As long as you keep it well watered.

However, if you live on the hotter parts of the country. You may be able to sneak at least two crops during the extended seasons. Hence you can replace the old plants with new seedlings.

If you are a BLT lover or a would like to make a salad, lettuce is one of the vegetable that you can grow in the shade parts of your garden.

Actually, you may  be surprised that some of the gardeners will even shelter the lettuce plants. With a shade cloth in order to prevent them from being burnt out by the sun.

When it comes to planting these salad greens, you have very few options.

With with the right kind of planning you could still get through it.

For instance, you could use succession planting or container gardening where you can pick the oldest leaves, as other sprout over time.

Mustard greens
This is one of the cooking greens similar to kale’s  and collards.

They are very tasty when cooked down with some bacon grease.

Also, they can go well with pinto beans as well as corn bread.

This is the category of greens that have the capability of tolerating the partial shade. Although they will do equally well in full sun.

But these mustard greens will not do well in hot temperatures.

11 vegetables that grow in shade

Most people are always skeptical about the radishes.

You will either hate them or just love them.

But if you love them like I do, you can smile now because you can comfortably raise them even in the shaded areas.

Only that they will have smaller roots and mire abundant leaves.

Therefore, you can sow the radishes either at the beginning of fall or at the end of summer.

When you space them out at least 2 weeks apart then you can harvest for a while continuously.

And the best thing is that radishes will take only 3-4 weeks to fully mature.

11 best vegetables to grow in shade radishes


Most of the root vegetables are known to handle either partial shade, or partial sunlight pretty well.

As long as you can provide the carrots with sunlight, at least for six hours per day. They will grow fast without any issues.

If not, it will take longer to harvest the carrots and the yields at the same time will be smaller.

Therefore, if you are wondering which is the best way to plant carrots in your garden, plant them in rows while facing east to west.

This way, other plants will less likely to cast shade on them no matter the time of the day.

If any part of the carrot that is exposed, ensure that you cover it with mulch or soil. Otherwise this part of the carrot will most likely just taste bitter.

Peas is another vegetable that will not mind getting sun either in the morning or in the evening. As long as it gets at least 5 hours of sunlight during the day.

The peas seeds can be sowed in early spring even when expecting another frost.

Also, as the peas grow ensure that you water them sparingly unless they appear as they could wilt.

Generally, I love having peas in my meals but more importantly I love growing them in my garden since they tend to add more nitrogen to the soil around them.

Before, I forget, you need to know that picking the already mature pods in peas, helps new ones to grow.

Brussels sprouts
In most cases, the Brussels sprouts will take quite a long time to mature. But they are one of most interesting vegetables to watch as they mature.

The first sprout of this vegetable is quite exciting.

You will love the fact that the Brussels sprouts will grow well in the cold season. They actually prefer this kind of weather over the hot climates.

Of all vegetables that can grow in the shady parts of the garden, this is one vegetable that will maximize that shadier spot.

And because they may tale quite a long time to mature, you can opt to plant some other short seasoned crops in between the rows. Such include pas as well as the bush beans.

This happens to be one of the fastest growing leafy green vegetables.

And in most cases, if you don’t love it will actually loath it. It can have quite a musky taste and odor while others may find that peppery bite it comes with quite refreshing.

Although it will do well in the shade, it tolerates full sun without an issue.

Salad Greens
Salad greens just like arugula, loose leaf lettuce and cress. Are likely to bolt and scorch is left too long in the hot sun.

Therefore, if you plant them in partially shaded vegetable garden, you may be able to harvest the vegetables at least for a few more weeks. When compared to the ones grown in the full sun gardens.

Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is one of the easiest to grow perennial herbs that might create a little trouble for most gardeners.

To maintain the ideal shape, they need to be kept trimmed all the time.

And this way, you will easily grow them either in the dappled sunlight or the full shade while still giving you incredible results at the end of the day.
The lemon balm has a very long history.  It has been used as a herbal medicine because of its mild sedative properties.

In most cases, the lemon balm can also be used in main dishes. Teas and drinks as well as garnish in the salads.

Cherry Tomatoes
Most of the gardeners cannot have gardens without tomatoes.

But this is not always easy especially for someone who has a shady garden.

However, what they don’t know is that the cherry tomatoes although they are high light vegetables could still do well in partial shade.
All in all, the will have fewer tomatoes than usual.

All you have to ensure is that the tomatoes get at least 5 hours of sunlight per day.

But if you live in the very hot parts of the country, it’s advisable that the tomatoes get some shade from the afternoon sun.

11 best vegetables that grow in shade cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Shade Vegetable Garden Care

When you grow your plants either in partial shade or partial light, remember that they are growing in less than normal ideal conditions.

Therefore, there are a few more conditions that you need to maximize for you to get the best produce out of your garden.

In that case, you can maximize the availability of the light in the garden by using or creating some reflective surfaces around or in the garden.

If you are wondering how best to do this, paint the fences and walls around the garden. White as well as using the reflective mulches around your plants.

This may to some extent help to maximize the availability of light in the garden.

Also, you can compensate on the limited availability of light in the garden by ensuring that the plants have the right amount of all other requirements for growth.

By this I mean that these plants should never lack water or suffer from deficiency of nutrients.

More to that, you should ensure that you make allowances for the smaller yields and longer growing periods.

Therefore, if the season you plant your crops is not long enough, ensure that you get that early maturing variety.

Also be ready for the root vegetables to take double as, much time to properly mature.

They  will be most likely smaller than normal too.

In other cases, you could consider growing the cool season crops in the shade as this will definitely extend the season.

And one more thing, the tubers and leafy greens will remain tender and sweet.

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