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Grow with KARE: Veggies that grow in shade

Not everyone has a "full sun spot" that's ideal for growing vegetables. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a thriving garden with plenty to harvest.

Not everyone has a "full sun spot" that's ideal for growing vegetables. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a thriving garden with plenty to harvest.

Some veggies like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers absolutely need that full sun… but there are a lot of options that can tolerate quite a bit of shade.

Crops that we grow for their fruit are best left to full sun areas. Tomatoes and peppers, for example, really do need at least six hours of sun. But as a general rule, vegetables that we grow for their leaves or roots are good choices for a partly shaded garden.

Mesclun mix greens and Asian greens like bok choi, tatsoi and komatsuna can be grown in an area with as little as two hours of sun.

There are lots of choices if you have an area that gets just three to four hours of sun each day.

  • Arugula
  • Swiss chard
  • Herbs like chives, parsley, cilantro and oregano… pretty much anything but basil
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Spinach
  • Scallions

With four to five hours of sun each day you get more options.

  • Peas, especially bush varieties
  • Beans, especially bush varieties
  • Broccoli and other brassicas like Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
  • Root veggies like beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes and turnips

Many times the veggies will take a bit longer to fully mature in the shade than if they were in full sun. You might not need to water as much as a full sun garden but keep on the lookout for slugs and snails that prefer shady conditions.