When it comes to planning your vegetable garden you may find yourself challenged with shady areas in your garden. Every gardening guide you find drills sun, sun, sun into your mind but your yard is not ALL sun and you want to take advantage of the space you have. The good news is there are plenty of vegetables that love light shade and will flourish while providing your family with food this year. Take advantage of every available growing space with these great plants.
What to grow in the shade
Spinach is packed with powerful nutrition making it a great choice to grow in your shade garden. It will flourish in the low light and give your family high iron and calcium. While spinach is best for the fall garden you can grow it nearly the entire growing season in the shade allowing you to have fresh spinach for your family longer than in full sun areas.
Other great salad additions like lettuce, kale, swiss chard, and arugula all grow well in the shade allowing you to fill your salad bowl without taking sunny space from your fresh tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies.
If your family enjoys good old fashioned collard greens you will be happy to know they will flourish in your shady areas along with mustard greens and turnips for the greens. While traditionally a fall crop you can start these in the spring and grow them until the summer heat becomes too much.
Broccoli and cauliflower love the shade. These slow-growing fall vegetables will thrive in your shade garden in the spring allowing for two growing seasons each year in cooler climates.
Tips for growing vegetables in the shade
First, you need to time the shade in your shady areas. Anything with six or more hours of sun is perfect for growing root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Space with less than 6 hours of sun a day is just fine for many leafy green vegetables.
Trim back trees, shrubs, and other sources of shade to allow your garden to get a bit more sun. While the above plants will grow in the shade you can make it a bit easier on them by helping them see a bit more natural light. A good pair of pruning sheers go a long way/
Help your garden thrive in the shade by giving it good quality soil. This means pack your soil with organic matter to allow for drainage. Mix in nice strong compost, and feed your plants regularly. Make your own compost from kitchen scraps to keep piling on the good stuff all season long.
Rotate your soil. While the plants you can grow in the shade can’t really rotate you can rotate the soil with other garden beds at the start of each season to allow the soil to become less depleted over time.