August 31, 2016

How to Grow Vegetables in a Shady Garden


Do you think you can't garden because your yard (or patio or balcony) is in the shade? Take heart, there are ways to work around the challenge!

How to grow vegetables in a shady garden.



I learned a bit about shade gardening by experience. We once rented a house with a well-established garden plot behind the garage. Unfortunately it was in deep shade most of the day, but it still produced carrots, parsley, lettuce and other vegetables.

Here in Oklahoma the east end of my garden is shaded during the morning hours, but has full sun from about mid-afternoon. I like the location for the most part. The shade allows me to spend more time in the garden during the hottest part of the summer, although the mosquitoes tend to congregate there. The shade on the eastern-most raised bed also allows me to grow cool-weather vegetables for a longer period of time than if they were in full sun all day long.

How to grow vegetables in a shady garden.

The first step in growing vegetables in a shady garden is to choose plants that prefer the shade. Leafy greens and root vegetables are the easiest to grow in low light. Brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage and kale are tolerant of shady areas.

Plants grown for their fruit such as tomatoes, squash and peppers need the most hours of sunlight, so locate them in the brightest areas of your garden space.

To boost the light in your garden, place mirrors or shiny sheets of metal to reflect light towards your plants. Remember that deep-shade garden at our rented house? The previous gardener had covered plywood with aluminum foil for this purpose.

If there is a wall or a fence nearby you can paint it bright white to reflect light.

Prune low-hanging tree branches or large bushes to maximize the sunlight.

Space plants a little farther apart to allow more light to reach them.

How to grow vegetables in a shady garden.

Plant in containers so you can move your plants around as summer progresses and the shade moves.

If your shady garden is a balcony or covered patio, you could hang some plant lights (affiliate link) in strategic places to boost the light. The long florescent-type tubes aren't the only grow lights available, you can buy individual bulbs as well. They fit well into heat-lamp type fixtures with reflective hoods.

I've even used shade intentionally by planting lettuce and spinach in the shadow of my tomato plants.

Careful planning and a little creativity are all you need to grow vegetables in a shady garden.


Related Post:
What to Grow in a Small Garden





This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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16 comments:

  1. I love your suggestion of planting in pots so you can follow the shade.

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    Replies
    1. Or follow the sun, depending on what you're growing. Thank you, Jamie!

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  2. Great information, especially for those of us who need to make the most of every inch! Thank you!

    Here from Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!

    Tammy
    www.simplypreparing.com

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    1. You're very welcome, Tammy. I hope this will help you maximize your garden space.

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  3. Brilliant ideas about growing in shade. I never thought of using aluminum foil to reflect the sun!
    Your lettuce looks delicious!
    Thank you for sharing your ideas on The Maple Hill Hop!

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  4. Love these ideas. I would love to plant more in the shade next year. Thanks for linking up at #SustainableSundays!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Danielle!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. We just moved into a house with a very shady backyard, and for a beginner gardener like me it's been daunting to figure out how to garden in it.

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I'm so glad it was encouraging. You'll figure it out over time.

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  6. great tips, I like this post, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Swathi. Have a wonderful week.

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  7. I have a large shady area and this will help so much! I've been just lost as to what to do! Thanks for sharing at Country Fair Blog Party!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it was helpful, Jan! Wishing you a great garden next year!

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  8. I have not had much luck with gardening but I really want to get better at it. I bookmarked and pinned this post so I can refer back to your helpful ideas. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I hope it will be very helpful to you, Mystic. I wasn't born with a green thumb either, but we can learn this together.

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