Best Vegetables to Grow in Shade (3-6 hrs of Sun)

By Julie Sews - 7:00:00 AM

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Our backyard is almost totally shaded, with the exception of a few spots that get 3-5 hrs of sun a day.  The only expansions we plan to do this year will take advantage of these spots.
We plan to move the swiss chard, kale, lettuce, spinach, and herbs we use to grow in our front to the back.  If there is room we will also try some root veggies and broccoli.  We plan to keep peas and beans in the front yard since they are vines and will shade our other veggies in are part shade spot even more.
Image credit Empress of Dirt
 Check out the Empress of Dirt for a break down for types of shade and how many hours of sun each plant needs
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 So what can we grow in our shady backyard?  Well according to In the Garden online as a general rule any plant that your not growing for the leaves or steams (not the root or fruit) will usually do just fine with 3-6 hrs of sun.  There are however a few root veggies that do just fine (see list below).

Our Swiss Chard 2010
Best Shade Tolerant Vegetables:
  1. Salad Greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, cress, and radicchio (3 hours or more)
  2. Bok Choi (2 hours or more)
  3. Herbs (chives, cilantro, garlic chives, golden marjoram, lemon balm, mint, oregano, thyme, and parsley) 3 hrs or more
  4. Broccoli (I've heard anywhere from 4-8hrs of sun is needed, so I'm guessing at least 5 hrs should be sufficient. 
  5. Peas (at least 4-5 hrs or sun)
  6. Some root vegetables Beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes and turnips will do OK in partial shade (3-4 hrs of sun), but you'll have to wait longer for a full crop. The more light you have, the faster they'll mature
  7. Swiss Chard  (5 hrs or more if you want full size and stalks, or 3-4 hours for baby leaves)
  8. Leafy Greens, such as collards, mustard greens, spinach, and kale (at least 3-4 hrs)
  9. Beans (at least 4-5 hrs or more of sun)
  10. Scallions (at least 3 hrs or more of sun)
  11. Cauliflower (at least 4-5 hrs or more of sun)
  12. Garlic
When in doubt if there is a range of hours minimum of sun needed, for example 3-4 hrs I would go on the safe side and assume 4 hrs for example.  Check out Mother Earth New's shade tolerant veggie chart for more specifics on the above list.

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  1. Thank you so much for this information! My backyard is also immersed in shade and I was at a lost of what to grow there.

    Thanks again :D


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