Vegetables that tolerate shade the best

Vegetables Even in shady spaces,

Vegetables When considering what crops to harvest in shaded areas, think of them in terms of leaves and roots. Crops harvested for their leaves (kale, lettuce, spinach) and those harvested for their roots (beets, carrots, radishes) can moderately adapt to partial shade conditions. On the other hand, crops harvested for their fruits (eggplants, peppers, tomatoes) truly require at least six hours of full sun per day.

To learn more about harvesting different plants in shaded gardens, check out our table featuring the best vegetables to grow in this type of environment:

it’s possible to enjoy bountiful garden harvests if you choose the right crops and make a couple of simple modifications.

CropNotes on sun/shadeHarvesting Tips
ArugulaAt least three hours of sun per day  Arugula thrives in shade, as this crop tends to bolt prematurely as the weather gets warmer due to the sun.  
Asian VegetablesAt least two hours of sun per day.Certain Asian greens like bok choy (also known as “pac choi” and “pak choi”), komatsuna, and tatsoi will grow wonderfully with a few hours of sun combined with some light shade or ambient lighting.
Swiss Chard  If you’re growing Swiss Chard for its fresh stems, you’ll need at least five hours of sun per day; if you’re growing it for leafy greens, three to four hours of sun daily should be sufficient.Swiss Chard grown under partial shade will grow slightly less than those grown under full sun. Swiss chard sprouts are excellent when cooked or served in raw salads.
Culinary HerbsAt least three hours of sun per day.While many culinary herbs require full sun, others like chives, cilantro, garlic, marjoram, lemon balm, mint, oregano, and parsley usually thrive well in shaded gardens.
      Kale  At least three to four hours of sun per day.  You’ll only notice a slight reduction in the growth of kale when comparing those grown under partial shade with those grown under full sun.
LettuceAt least three to four hours of sun per day.    Lettuce is perfect for shaded gardens as it protects the plants from the heat of the sun, preventing premature bolting. Often, shade provides lettuce growers with one to two weeks more harvest than they would get from full-sun crops.  
Leafy vegetablesAmong the best vegetables to grow in shaded gardens, they thrive with as little as two hours of sun per day and can also tolerate partial shade.Delicate salad herbs can usually be harvested in about four weeks. As long as you leave the roots intact, you should be able to get at least three good harvests before replanting is needed.  
    Mustard greens    At least three hours of sun per day for shoots.    Mustard greens, often grown for their fresh shoots, usually adapt well to shaded gardens.
    Fava beans and legumes      At least four to five hours of sun per day.      If you’re cultivating them under partial shade, it will take longer to get good harvests. Try dwarf and bush varieties instead of pole beans.
Tubers        At least four to five hours of sun per day for decent harvests.  Beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes, and turnips will adapt reasonably well to partial shade crops, but you’ll need to wait longer for full harvests. The more light in your garden, the faster they will mature. An alternative is to harvest baby carrots or small new potatoes as gourmet delicacies that would cost a fortune in a supermarket.    
OnionAt least three hours of sun per day.This crop adapts well to partial shade during the harvest seasons.    
SpinachAt least three to four hours of sun per day.Because it tends to bolt in the sun, spinach thrives in the shade. If you’re growing it specifically for baby spinach, you can continue harvesting as long as you keep picking the outer leaves of each plant.

The estimates in this table are based on the author’s experience and data from experts mentioned in “The Best Vegetables to Grow in the Shade” article.

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