Shade Tolerant Vegetables for Urban Gardens

 

In this partial shade spot, a container is used to grow cherry tomatoes and chard.

In this partial shade spot, a container is used to grow cherry tomatoes and chard.

For vegetable gardeners on mature lots, deciding what to plant can be tricky. Most vegetables need a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight per day and the more sun the better, especially for things like tomatoes, squash and green beans. If your lot has lots of trees, it may be hard to get that amount of sunlight. But don’t despair! There are vegetables that can tolerate partial shade or dappled shade and still produce a bountiful crop.

Dina Kountoupes of Minneapolis-based Harvest Moon Edible Landscapes works with many urban gardeners who have shady yards. During her talk on beginning vegetable gardening at this past weekend’s Minnesota Home and Patio Show, Dina gave a long list of fruits and vegetables that can tolerate some shade. Here are a few of the vegetables she recommends:

Fruits: Most fruits prefer full sun, but some can tolerate partial shade. Dina recommends raspberries, currants, blackberries, gooseberries, huckleberries or alpine strawberries if you have a spot that is sunny part of the day, but not quite six or eight hours.

Chard and other greens do well in less sunny areas.

Chard and other greens do well in less sunny areas.

Greens: Many greens grow well in slightly shady areas, especially during the hotter months of the summer. Greens like cool weather and soil, so the shade may keep them productive longer. Best greens for shady spots include kale, spinach and Swiss chard.

Other vegetables: Broccoli, peas, radishes, beets, turnips and carrots can also grow well in lower sun areas.

Herbs: Some of the hardier herbs also do fine in partial shade, including thyme, mint (keep it in a pot unless you want mint groundcover!), parsley and garlic chives.

Is shade a problem in your vegetable garden? What do you grow in your shady spots?

In a pot on a shady deck, this apple mint grew beautifully.

In a pot on a shady deck, this apple mint grew beautifully.

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