Shade-Friendly Veggies and Herbs

Try these shade-tolerant veggies in your garden! 

Don’t give up on a vegetable garden because you have more shade than you would like. Many gardeners don’t have the opportunity to grow in the ideal 8+ hours of full sun, especially in the city. However, many veggies can tolerate partial shade; a few even appreciate it!

“Partial shade” refers to areas that are exposed to 3-6 hours of sunlight. Areas that receive dappled sun or filtered sunlight for most of the day are also considered to be in partial shade. Even in less-than-ideal sun exposure, you can still do some veggie gardening. Just try it out and see! Often, gardeners with shade garden success earned it with a little trial and error. 

Keep reading for veggies to try out in your garden!

 

Salad greens

arugula, endive, lettuce, sorrel, spinach

Salad greens generally do well in cooler weather and they welcome some shade! It can be tricky to grow them during the hottest part of the summer because these veggies go to seed (also known as bolting) more quickly with too much heat or sun. However, a  shadier spot can help extend their production. Salad greens tolerate 3-4 hours of sun per day very well.

Leafy greens

collards, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard

These leafy greens are often served cooked. With 3-4 hours of sun daily, they will grow more slowly but will be tender and sweeter as their smaller selves.

Root veggies 

beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, turnips

You can harvest root veggies before they reach their full size for "baby" vegetables, or wait a little longer for a fully mature crop. They’ll take a little longer to reach full size in 4-5 hours of sun, but partial shade will prevent them from bolting too quickly. Radishes especially prefer a bit of shade from the heat of summer, to keep them from turning woody and bolting. Consistent watering is also important to avoid woodiness. Keep in mind that you can harvest the delicious greens of beets, turnips, and radishes even if the root stays small.

Brassica veggies

Broccoli and cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage

These veggies in the Brassica genus grow tighter heads and flower later with partial sun. With broccoli and cauliflower, you may be able to get a second smaller crop after you cut off the main central head. These cool-weather plants do well with 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.

Peas and beans

Being in a shaded spot will lengthen the growing season for peas and beans! These veggies can do well with about 4-5 hours of sun daily. Remember to pick peas and beans regularly to encourage continued growth. Read more tips in our blog post on how to grow peas

Leeks and onions

Leeks and onions do very well in cooler, moist environments. They can get by with at least about 4 hours of sun per day. 

Herbs

mint, chervil, chives, coriander/cilantro, oregano, parsley

Herbs make great additions to a shady veggie garden! Keep in mind these herbs will grow more quickly and densely with more sun, but they usually still do well with 4 hours of sun per day. Also, note that mint is such a vigorous grower that it’s best to put it in a container so it doesn’t take over your garden.

 

Meals are best when the ingredients are home-grown; don't let some shade stop you! Happy planting!

 

Helpful Veggie Gardening Resources:

First Year Veggie Garden

6 Essential Steps for a Successful Vegetable Garden

Partly Sunny Veggie Garden Pinterest Board