Feb 26th, 2009
I’m asked on a regular basis what to grow in the shady part of a vegetable plot so I thought it was about time I wrote a post on the topic. So here goes.
Firstly, you’re not alone in wondering what the heck to grow in the shady bit of the garden. Most of the vegetable books talk about giving plants an ‘open site’ ‘in full sun’. Which is totally possible on an allotment but is virtually impossible in your own garden at home. There are usually walls, fences, trees, and buildings to contend with making it inevitable that there will always be a ‘shady bit’
Mtp has a shady bit – or if you’re going to get technical, a ‘north facing wall’. It runs down the right hand side. In the morning it’s in full shade, but in the afternoon the sun has moved around and it gets at least a couple of hours of sunshine before the sun drops behind the house.
This is the type of shady bit that is totally usable in a vegetable garden. The type of area that isn’t usable is an area in full shade. There are very few vegetables that will grow in full shade. If you have an area which is in full shade, your best bet is to plant some shade-loving shrubs or flowers – sorry, I know that’s not much fun but it’s the truth.
Now for the cream – what ‘can’ you grow in partial shade? The answer is, tons of stuff. Yey!
Here’s a list of the vegetables that will tolerate shade
- Calvo Nero
- Spinach Beet
- Lettuce (winter varieties)
- Mustard Greens
- Asparagus (although fewer spears will be produced)
And here’s a list of fruit:
- Alpine Strawberries
- Autumn Raspberries
- Plums (Czar etc)
- Pear (Conference, Emile D’Heyst etc)
- Morello Cherry
- And Quince (apparently, although I have no experience of this)
You could also think about using your shady space to grow plants to use as Christmas decoration. I grow Yew, Holly and Ivy for that very reason. And of course there are countless flowers you could grow in the shade too. I’m no flower expert but I manage to grow Foxglove and Echinacea without too much drama.
There are also crafty ways that you can get around the shade problem. For example you could sow and grow Runner Beans in the sunny part of your garden, then plant them in the shady part once they have grown big enough to cling to a frame. I tried it last year and it worked a treat. The top half of the Runner Bean teepee is in the sun for long enough during each day to produce lots of nice long pods come summertime.
So there you have it; what to grow on the north-facing side of your garden. Most of these vegetables will, of course, produce more robust plants if grown in full sun. However, if your space is limited and you simply ‘have’ to make use of that shady spot then these are the vegetables to do it with. Good luck.