13 vegetables that best grow in the shade

As a general rule of thumb, a bountiful vegetable garden requires plentiful sun. This is especially true of the fruit-bearing vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, squashes and the like. But veggies grown primarily for their leaves, stems or buds can usually tolerate a fair amount of shade.
When planning your garden, consider these vegetables for those areas that get less than six hours of full sunlight every day.
Advertisement
1. Spinach
Spinach is one of the most shade-tolerant vegetables, needing only three to four hours of full sun each day, according to Mother Earth News. Harvesting young leaves encourages more growth, so the plant will provide for you throughout its growing season.
2. Lettuce
Use the same young-leaves-only technique for lettuce to extend harvest time. The looser the lettuce leaves are, the Mother Nature Network (MNN) says, the more shade-tolerant it will be. Tightly compacted head lettuce will require the most sun.
3. Kale
While kale thrives in full sun, a growing location with only a few hours of sunlight per day will not have much effect on its production. Give it a try, and experience fresh kale smoothies!
4. Broccoli
Shutterstock
Grow your broccoli in partial shade. MNN advises leaving the plant in the ground after harvesting the head of broccoli to allow smaller heads to form along the stem, extending your harvest.
5. Cauliflower
Most people know that broccoli and cauliflower are cousins, due to their similarly shaped heads and florets. Cauliflower, however, is a little less tolerant of shade -- make sure your cauliflower has at least filtered sunlight all day long.
6. Root vegetables
Carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes and radishes like a lot of sun, but these plants will still produce their vegetables if grown in some shade. The rule of thumb is that the more shade they have, the longer they'll take to produce their crop, according to Mother Earth News.
7. Scallions
Shutterstock
Needing only three hours of sun per day, scallions are a welcome addition to any shade garden. They're also welcome in many salads for their mild oniony flavor.
8. Arugula
Arugula does especially well in cool climates, Mother Earth News says, because once the weather turns warm, these greens are prone to bolting. Bolting occurs when a vegetable goes to flower, usually resulting in nonedible, bitter leaves.
9. Beans and peas
Instead of the pole varieties, try bush or dwarf types of beans and peas when growing them under shady conditions. They may take a little longer to produce, so be patient!
10. Bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
Bok choy is a cool-season vegetable that can be grown all summer long in partially shady areas, according to Natural Living Ideas. Because it abounds in vitamins C and A, it should be included in any healthy vegetable garden.
11. Mustard greens
Shutterstock
Mustard greens are "especially good for growing in the shade if you are growing them for baby greens," says ReclaimGrowSustain.
12. Chard
Chard will grow well in partially shady conditions, but the leaves will be smaller than chard grown in full sun. These baby leaves make for excellent eating, whether cooked or served raw in salad.
13. Mesclun
Mother Earth News describes this salad mix as "one of the best crops for shady gardens." It needs as little as two hours of sun per day and should produce up to three harvests!
When considering your garden plot, keep in mind the differences between total shade and shade that has sunlight dappled or filtered through a nearby tree or bush. These can make a world of difference to a light-sensitive plant, so if one vegetable doesn't seem to be thriving in a particular location, try moving it to one with a little more light.
Advertisement
Share these shade garden tips with your friends on Facebook and ask them, "How does your shady garden grow?"

Cement blocks can sometimes be overlooked in favor of items that are easier to move around in a garden. But after checking out this list, you might rethink the skipped-over cement block.
September 18   ·  
Advertisement
Sweet potatoes are enjoying a surge of popularity, and why not? They're more nutritious than regular potatoes and they're a fun and easy crop to grow.
September 18   ·  
It's fairly simple to grow garlic at home so you've got a fresh supply of this versatile ingredient.
September 18   ·