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7 Veggies That Don’t Need Full Sun

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Got a shady garden spot? Try growing some of these tasty veggies that don’t need full sun!

Planning your garden can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging if you have limited space available, or if your garden space faces challenges such as poor drainage, limited sun, or other issues. However, with a bit of creativity, there are always ways to make the most of the space you have. For example, you can try amending your soil, building raised beds, or gardening in straw or hay bales if drainage is a problem.

If your area is shady, in some cases you may be able to trim back trees and position the most sun-loving plants in the brightest areas. You can also choose plants that can grow and even thrive with less sunlight. Below are 7 veggies that don’t need full sun. Try growing these if you have overhanging trees or fences that prevent your garden area from getting a full 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

However, do keep in mind that there really aren’t many vegetables that will thrive in dense shade. You will need at least 3-6 hours of direct sunlight per day, or constant dappled sunlight for the full day, in order for these veggies to grow and produce for you.

1.) Arugula

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual, grown in zones 2 to 11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, tolerates part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil

Arugula is among the fastest-growing leafy greens. It is one of those greens that people either love or hate, as it can have musky odor and taste. Some find its peppery bite very refreshing. Arugula tolerates some shade but also does well in full sun. It is easy to grow from seed sown directly into the garden.

2.) Beets

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual, grown in zones 2 to 11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, tolerates part shade
  • Soil Needs: Loamy soil

Beets sort of break the rules for planting root vegetables in partial shade and can do surprisingly well. While the shade may impact the size of your beetroots, the plants will still produce delicious greens.

If you’re short on space, beets can also do quite well in a deep container. For a continual harvest, keep planting a few seeds every week or so. Just be sure to keep them watered so the roots do not turn woody.

3.) Broccoli

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual, grown in zones 2 to 11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (shade preferred in hot climates)
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist soil

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that you can line alongside the shadier edges of any garden space. It looks fantastic when growing in a line, and with all the colorful varieties available, it can really add a fun splash to a border.

A member of the cabbage family, this is also a relatively easy plant to grow—just keep it watered, then wait for the harvest. If you are in a hotter climate, you may even be able to sneak two crops into the extended season by replacing the old plants with new seedlings.

4.) Cress

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual, grown in zones 2 to 11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Loose, well-drained soil

Cress, also known as garden cress or pepper cress, is the rare vegetable that does well in nearly full shade. It matures very fast and likes moist soils. It is known for its peppery and sometimes tangy flavor that works well in soups and stews.

5.) Lettuce

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual, grown in zones 2 to 11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade; prefers some shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium-moisture, well-drained soil

Lettuce—a staple for any salad or BLT lover—is a cool-season green that dislikes too much direct sun. Some gardeners even shelter lettuce with shade cloth to prevent it from burning out.

You have a few options when it comes to planting these great salad greens to enjoy them throughout the season. For instance, you can succession plant it or simply use the containers as a “cut and come again” garden, picking (and using) the oldest leaves as needed.

6.) Endive

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil

Endive does well with only a few hours of daily sun. Especially in midsummer, the shade will prevent the plant from bolting (setting seeds). Better yet, endive does great in pots just like arugula, leaf lettuce, and cress, so you can fill your deck with a salad-lovers container garden.

7.) Peas

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual, grown in zones 2 to 11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, tolerates part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moisture-retentive soil

Peas are perfect for containers and do fine in a partially shady spot. The key to growing peas is timing. If you get the seeds in the soil at the right time and harvest before it gets too hot, you should have a nice crop. Peas like cool weather.

This is also a space-saving crop. Many varieties like to climb up a trellis or some sort of support, and once they are done, you can plant a quick-growing, late-season crop like broccoli or try a second pea crop.

Find more veggies that will grow in partial shade at TheSpruce.com

 

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