low-sunlight vegetables

dhariniApril 25, 2008

does anyone know about any vegetables that grow with very little direct sunlight and not a lot of space? i'm trying to grow something in a small (~1' wide)space behind my garage. the space is always in shadow from the garage and a neighbor's tree. if you have any ideas please, please, please tell me!

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justaguy2(5)

nothing veggy is going to grow in full shade, sorry. You might eek by with some lettuce, but don't expect much.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 4:41PM
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chuck(Z10,SW FL)

Nonsense, all my vegitables are growing in shaded areas. I am growing tomatoes, squash, hot peppers, and egg plant. Soon I will be adding some more. First off, where are you? Just because an area is shaded doesn't mean that benificial elements of the sun's light isn't reaching your plants. Look at the area now. Are there weeds or grass growing? Is there an area near the shaded area that does get sun light? If so, there might be more light reflected to your chosen grow area than you realize. One test is to take a daylight camera shot of the area (without flash) and see how well it comes out. Here's what I would do. Go to your local wal-mart or simular store and buy several vegitables in the 5 inch size containers. Set them out in your chosen grow spot for a week. Make sure you water them every day. Small potted plants lose more water from evaporation than the plant uses. See how they are doing. I'd bet that they will probably grow a bit slower, but will adapt. chuck

Here is a link that might be useful: Some growing ideas if you decide to try it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 6:52PM
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bobb_2002(Z6 S.W. CT)

Mushrooms?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 9:40PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

There is a huge difference between partial shade in Florida and partial shade in Washington. But Chuck is right. It does depend on how much partial the sun is though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 9:46PM
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gardenwolverine(7b)

If it doesn't *have* to be vegetables, there are a few medicinal plants that dislike sunlight, like ginseng, bloodroot, and a few others that aren't coming to mind at the moment. I have a garden spot that's all shade, too, and that's what I'm going to plant there...tho the spot does already have tulips and several other plants that are just growing slower than they would in sunlight.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 10:00PM
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raisemybeds(SouthernCT)

I have to mostly agree with justaguy2. There is a point to planting vegetables, and that is to realize some decent growth which gives rise to some edible food. Although the plants might adapt as well as they can to shade conditions, and SOME minimal growth will ensue, the photosynthesis taking place will not be adequate to produce a quality crop.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 11:20PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

Don't you have any other possible place to grow things? If you have a sunny spot that's paved over, you can use containers -- tomatoes will grow in 5-gallon buckets.

My community garden plot is half shade, so I've tried a lot of things. But I get 4-5 hours of direct sun. Cherry tomatoes do ok, leafy greens, mints, squash, brassicas, many herbs.

For such a small space, herbs might be worthwhile, if the site is ok otherwise (good soil, appropriate watering) or maybe if you have a sunny window. They add a lot of flavor to meals, are best fresh, you don't have to buy more than you need and let the rest compost in your refrigerator, and they're easy to grow. If your spot doesn't get any direct sun, some herbs may not grow well or may be leggy, reaching for the light.

Here's more info on growing edibles in the shade:

http://www.rickharrison.com/texts/info/shade_tolerant.html

Shade Tolerant Vegetables (and Fruits)

It depends on your climate, soil, and what kind of shade you have. Is it solid shade cast by a large building, or dappled shade cast by trees? Few edibles will produce in all-day solid shade, but if you have broken shade, or direct sun for at least part of the day, there is hope of getting some vegetables to grow.

Shade is a blessing in hot climates. Areas that get 2 to 3 hours of sun in the morning followed by shade the rest of the day are ideal for growing leafy vegetables during the summer in hot climates.

Here is a list of the more shade-tolerant vegetables gleaned from previous discussions of this question in rec.gardens.edible

GREENS:

 arugula
 cabbage
 kale
 lettuce
 mustard greens
 pak choi
 parsley
 sorrel
 spinach

ALLIUMS:

 chives
 garlic chives
 onions

HERBS:

 cardamom
 mint

LEGUMES:

 peas
 bush beans

BERRIES:

 blackberry
 currants
 gooseberry
 strawberries

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 3:38AM
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tom_n_6bzone(Western Maryland 6b)

If there is a nearby area where the sun does shine, can you put up foil or a shiny material, or a silver reflecting windshield shade to reflect light there? The area you described is getting almost no sun. Arugula, chives and that group of partial sun plants listed above is just that, partial sun, not full shade. Justaguy is completely correct. Hosta or ferns would grow nice.
~tom

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 6:39AM
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tamberscreator_gmail_com

There are some vegetables you can plant in the shade, but i was wondering: I want to make an arbor of peas above my garden box, and plant something underneath it to maximize the amount of space in my garden box. So???
I was wondering also, do potatoes need sunlight?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 4:03PM
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