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!
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.
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.
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.
What to Grow in a Small Garden
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