How to Grow a Shade Garden
One of the elements that is vital for gardening success is sunlight.
“Each vegetable and fruit pant has a natural cycle based on the number of hours if sunlight it receives. Most vegetables need a full six to eight hours of direct sunlight to produce well. However, the following vegetable plants and herbs will tolerate fewer hours of direct sunlight, thriving even if they only receive four to six hours:”
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Broccoli – Broccoli tolerates lower levels of heat and sunlight than cauliflower does so you can easily grow broccoli in a part shade border or fall garden. Broccoli is a nutrient hog so provide rich, organic soil to help it grow well.
Cabbage – Cabbage can be started indoors and transplanted outdoors. It grows well in the limited sunlight available through fall and early winter and can be grown in less than ideal conditions if you don’t let it dry out. Cabbage is shallow rooted so water evenly and provide a nice mulch cover to prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
Calendula – Also known as Pot Marigold, calendula is more tolerant of shade because afternoon sun can stress it out too much – especially in warmer southern zones. Be prepared for this hardy annual to self-seed and produce volunteer plants year after year in an area it likes!
Chard – Swiss Chard is an unusual green that is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. And for good reason.the brightly colored stalks are asparagus-like, while the green leaves are spinach like. Healthy, beautiful in the garden, and easy to grow Swiss Chard is another plant that does best out of direct summer heat so part shade is tolerated well.
Cilantro – Cilantro is an herb harvested for it’s zesty leaves but when the temperature hits 75 degrees for several days in a row, it will try to bolt. That’s why putting cilantro where it has afternoon shade with just a few hours of morning sun can help prolong your harvest.
Dill – Dill grows tall and is very attractive with fine-cut foliage and cheerful yellow flowers. It will tolerate less than eight hours of sunlight so don’t be afraid to tuck it into a less-than-ideal spot in your herb garden.
Greens – Any of the gourmet greens like spinach, arugula, or others will tolerate more shade, especially in the late spring heading into the heat of summer. Fill a shady border with edible ground covers by sprinkling a mixed pack of seeds and enjoy a colorful, delicious bounty in any planter bed or border!
Lettuce – Lettuce is me of the most trans-formative garden vegetables to me. Compared to the bland iceberg most often served as a salad lettuce, the varieties available to a home garden are vast and eye-opening.
Mint – Mint is an easy-to-grow perennial that will survive winters through zone 5 and will tolerate a part shade environment with ease. In fact, in some areas a mint will be invasive in your garden so consider growing them in a container to keep them contained. Mint is a fragrant herb with beautiful foliage and considered in a must in herb or medicinal gardens.
While many people consider the ideal garden location a flat area with 8 hours of sunlight per day minimum what we’ve discovered is that by planting the right plants you can grow some of your own food in a less than ideal location. What area will you try to grow some food in, even if it isn’t ideal?