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Growing in Shade

Which fruit, herbs and vegetables can be grown in shade


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Unless you have a allotment or large open garden, you are bound to have shady areas caused by structures such as fences, sheds or the house. This article explores the possibility of growing edible crops in shady places.

Definition of Shade

For the purposes of this editorial, the words “shade” and “shady” relate to an area which only gets sun, even if it’s lightly dappled sun, for a brief period of time, i.e. 2-3 hours a day and which is not overshadowed by a heavy canopy of tree tops.  Unfortunately any areas which are totally in shade all day will not produce worthwhile plants and are best given over to true shade loving shrubs or ornamentals.

Can you grow vegetables in the shade?

Although an open site in full sun is preferable for growing vegetables, it is entirely possible to grow some edible produce in semi shady areas of your plot.     You should bear in mind that edible plants grown in the shade may produce less crops than those sown in sunny areas but better a little than none at all. 

Which Vegetables can be grown in shade?

There are a surprising large amount of vegetables which will tolerate shade for much of the day. In general, leafy vegetables do quite well as do many brassicas  

List of vegetables which will grow in shade

In general, leafy vegetables are suitable for growing in shade but fruit bearing vegetables such as tomatoes are not. The list below is an example of what you can grow, though is not a definitive list.  

Asparagus, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cress, Endive, Kale, Leaf (Spinach) Beet, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Parsnips, Radicchio, Radish, Rocket, Spinach, Swiss chard  



Can you grow herbs in the shade?

If you thought all herbs need hot arid conditions, then think again as there are a few which do relatively well in semi shade, particularly softer leaved herbs and is particularly useful for container growing on patios or balconies.

List of herbs which will grow in shade

Basil, Chives, Coriander, Mint, Parsley, Sage

Can you grow fruit in the shade?

Most fruiting plants produce better crops when grown in sunny positions as sunshine is required to ripen and mature the fruit. However, there are a few exceptions which will tolerate semi shade – that is to say an area which gets as little as 3 hours of sun per day.

List of fruit which will grow in shade

Alpine Strawberries,  Autumn Raspberries,  Morello Cherry,  Gooseberries,  Pears,  Plums,  Rhubarb, Quince


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