there are many vegetables that grow in shade or partial shade

There are many healthy, nutritious vegetables that grow in shade or partial shade. They will however, grow and produce slower in the shade.

  • Leafy vegetables and root vegetables are the best vegetables for the shade. Lettuce, spinach, cabbage and root vegetables like beets, leeks, potatoes, and turnips are good for a shady garden.

All vegetables need some light, at least dappled sunlight like under a tree. Or where they get reflected light bouncing off a building.

vegetables that grow in shade or partial shade

Two to six hours of sun will give you a productive vegetable garden.

  • Many vegetables will grow in light to partial shade; arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, Chinese cabbage, corn salad, endive, escarole, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, leeks, mustard, New Zealand spinach, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, sorrel, spinach, turnips, and watercress.

Get your garden area ready for planting by incorporating plenty or rotted manure, compost or other organic supplements such as cottonseed meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, etc.

Some gardeners mix the supplements into the soil in the fall. Spring crops are planted, as soon as the soil can be worked.

If you are planting root crops, remove any rocks that would misshapen root vegetables. A fine cultivated soil makes it easier for any of your vegetables grow.

green peas

Green Peas are a good spring crop that produces in the shade.Green Peas are a good spring crop.
Image by erdemates from Pixabay

Green peas and Snow Peas are spring vegetables that grow in shade. They may also be planted in the fall for another crop. You can enjoy your harvest in 50 to 80 days.

  • Early varieties; Burpeeana, Early Dwarf, Little Marvel, Alaska, Freezonian, Thomas Laxton
  • Late varieties; Burpee‘s Blue Bantam, Alderman, Fordhook Wonder, Green Arrow, Wando
  • Snow Peas; Oregon Sugar Pod, Burpee Sweet Pod, Mammoth Melting Sugar, Dwarf Gray Sugar

Plant the peas directly into the garden when the soil can be worked. Plant the seeds 3" apart in double rows. Put a support in the center of the double row.

A second method is to broadcast the seeds in rows 12" wide. The peas grow on each other for support.

  • Peas like mulch to keep their roots cool and light fertilization.

Harvest the peas when you see the pods bulging, but the pods are still green. The peas need to be harvested every few days to keep the vines producing.

If you leave them on the vine until the peas are hard and the pods turn yellow, they can be used for dried peas.

Pick the Snow Peas while the pods are still thin, so they are sweet and tender.


Kohlrabi is one of the interesting vegetables that grow in shade.Kohlrabi is an interesting member of the cabbage family.
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Kohlrabi is a vegetable that grows in partial shade to full sun. They are part of the cabbage family of vegetables.

They are a fast growing vegetable that looks somewhat like a spaceship with an enlarged edible stem above the soil. The bulb and leaves are edible. They are good raw, sliced for snacking, in salads or cooked. They taste similar to a mild turnip.

  • Green and purple varieties; Konan Hybrid Kohlrabi, Early White Vienna, Sweet Vienna and Purple Vienna - Harvest in 45-60 days

Plant the seeds directly in the garden two weeks after the last hard freeze. Sow the seeds 1/2" deep and later thin the seedlings to 6" apart.

You may do successive plantings every two weeks until warm weather and again in the fall.

  • Kohlrabi likes the cool weather. They appreciate mulch, even moisture and light soluble fertilizer applications to keep them growing rapidly.

Harvest the entire plant when the bulbs are 3" in diameter. Larger bulbs get tough. Cut the plant off at the soil level.


Beets grow in partial shadeBeets are grown for their greens and roots
Image by Haraldschmidt from Pixabay

Beets are a tasty vegetable that grows in shade or sun. Beets are pretty enough to grow in a pot on your patio.

Beets are a cool season vegetable, so they appreciate growing in partial shade. They are ready to harvest in 60-70 days. It is a double-duty vegetable. We can harvest the outer leaves while the root is still growing.

  • Popular varieties; Detroit Dark Red, Crosby, Early Wander, Golden (yellow)

Plant the seeds in the spring 1/2"-1" deep in rows 15" apart. When the plants are 5" tall thin them to 4"-6" apart.

Harvest the outside leaves of the tops during the growing season. They make a tasty cooked greens similar to Swiss chard.

Harvest the entire plant when the beet roots are about 3" across. If you let them get bigger they're not so good.


Spinach grow well in light shade.Spinach likes the cool weather.
Image by wiswik from Pixabay

Most all leafy vegetable grow in shade, including spinach. It’s a healthy, nutritious vegetable and so easy to grow.

  • Winter Bloomsdale and Melody Hybrid are common varieties.
  • New Zealand spinach is not a true spinach, but it will grow in warmer weather.

Plant spinach in the spring and fall. Sow the seed directly in the garden 3/4' deep in rows 14' apart. Plant again every two weeks until the warm weather. When the seedlings are 4" tall, thin them to 6" apart.

  • All leafy plants such as spinach, need ample amounts of nitrogen. So add plenty of compost or aged manure to the soil before planting. It grow best with regular moisture.

Harvest the outer leaves and the plant will continue growing. Or harvest the entire plant.


Harvest of white potatoesHarvest potatoes with a spading fork.
Image by MetsikGarden from Pixabay

Irish potatoes are another vegetable that grows in shade to full sun. They are easy to grow and don't take much space. Five pounds of seed potatoes in a 10'x12' space will produce 45 to 70 pounds in 80-100 days.

  • Irish Cobbler, Northland, Russet and Red Pontiac
  • Good for storage; Kennebec and Katahdin

Get certified, disease free seed potatoes.

  • Cut the seed potatoes into several pieces about 1 1/2" across. Each piece must contain an eye. Let the pieces set out in the air 24-48 hours, until the cuts callous over.

Do not plant your potatoes where nightshade vegetables, tomatoes, peppers or eggplants were grown the previous year.

Plant the potatoes in the spring in well-prepared soil with plenty of organic matter free of stones.

  • Place the cut pieces with the eyes facing up, 3"-5" deep, 10"-12" apart. You may either dig a trench or pry the soil open with a shovel and drop the potato piece in.

Care - Water at least an inch a week. Letting the potatoes go dry will make hollow places inside the tubers. 

  • When the plants are 6"-8" tall, pull an inch or two of soil up around the potato plants. The more stem underground, the more tubers the plant will produce.
  • Hill the soil up around the plant, several times during the growing season for a total of 6"-8".
  • Make sure to cover any tubers exposed to the light. They can get sun scald and/or turn green, so they are inedible.

Harvest new potatoes during the growing season, 2-3 weeks after they stop flowering. Dig carefully out away from the main plant to find the small new potatoes. Use them soon after harvest.

When the potato plants turn brown and die back, cut the plant off at the ground level. Allow the potatoes to cure in the soil for 10-14 days for the skins to thicken.

  • Dig the potatoes carefully with a spading fork when the soil is dry. Wet soil will stick to the potatoes. Washing potatoes shortens their storage life. 

Brush any dirt off the potatoes and store them in a cool, dark place 45-60 degrees. Then enjoy your garden harvest.

Don't despair if you don't a full sun garden.

  • There are vegetables that grow in shade, leafy and root vegetables are the best choice.
  • Numerous other vegetables will grow in partial shade.

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