Even if you don’t have a bright, sunny yard, you can still grow delicious and nutritious edible plants. While plants that are grown for the fruit or the root generally do require full sun to thrive, plants grown for their edible leaves and stems will often do just fine in the shade.
Before planting or even planning your shaded edible garden, it’s important to assess just how shade the garden is. Areas that are directly and deeply shaded by trees or buildings may be better suited to growing shade-tolerant ornamental plants. But areas that have partial shade, with perhaps a half day of sunshine (preferably in the afternoon), or dappled shade, where light filters through overhead branches, can support a number of vegetables and herbs from the following list:
|Beet greens||Mustard greens|
|Garlic chives||Turnip greens|
Any of these plants can be grown easily from seed, and sowing seeds will give you a greater range of planting options. The seed packet will provide details on how and when to plant and you can check out the project Planting Seeds Successfully for more guidance. But if you are short on time or just anxious to get started, your local garden center will have a selection of seedlings that are suitable for planting at that time.
Be sure to take advantage of places in your garden under deciduous trees that are normally too shady but that get more light in the late fall and winter after the leaves have fallen. Those spots may be perfect to fit in one or two cool-season crops like kale or spinach before the branches leaf out again in the spring.
Once you’ve determined where to plant your shade-tolerant edibles, follow these steps to start and maintain your shade crops.