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If you have an area in your garden that only gets a part sun during the day you can still grow vegetables there. In fact, in hot climates, some vegetables do far better in semi shade rather than full sun as hot weather and too much sunlight can make some plants bolt to seed before you’ve had a chance to reap their harvest. So growing these types of vegetables in semi shade can increase your growing season which means that you can harvest them for longer than you would have been able to if they were grown in full sun.
As a general rule of thumb, any plant with large dark green leaves is happy to grow in semi-shaded areas of your garden. So, any plants that you harvest for their leaves, stems or roots will grow successfully with only a few hours of sunlight a day. Plants like leaf lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower do well without a full day of direct sunlight.
Root vegetables like carrots, radishes, turnips, parsnips and beetroot can also grow quite happily in semi-shade as long as they get at least 4 hours of sunlight a day. I’ve even grown potatoes quite successfully down the side of my house which only gets a few hours of sunlight a day. You may find that you get a smaller crop or they take longer to mature but who doesn’t love baby carrots and small new potatoes?
Asian greens like bok choi also grow happily in semi shade. Give them plenty of fertilizer high in nitrogen as this promotes leaf growth and will make for a good harvest.
Extra Care Needed When Planting Around Tall Trees
If your shady garden spots are due to tall trees, remember that the trees will compete with your vegetables for both nutrients and water. So, make sure that you feed your veggie well and water regularly to give them the most optimum growing conditions. However, be careful not to overwater. If in doubt, feel the soil with your fingers, and if it’s damp then you don’t need to add further water. When watering try to water only around the root area of your crops and avoid wetting the leaves. This will avoid disease problems such as fungus which proliferates more readily in shady spots. Make sure you allow extra space between plants to also inhibit the spread of diseases.
So don’t be put off if you don’t have the ideal growing conditions for those sun-loving vegetables like tomatoes and corn. Plant some shade-loving vegetables instead and have a supply of delicious homegrown veggies all year round.