There are loads of DELICIOUS and nutritious shade tolerant vegetables you can grow this autumn and winter with as little as two hours of sun. All you need is a little pre-planning.
Granted, the vegetables may not look as good as those that have access to full sun, but they’ll still be delicious.
Vegetables can be grown in shade if you are a) harvesting mainly the leaves of the plant or b) if you start them off in summer when there is more sun, so that their growing has had a head start.
Here is a list of my top 11:
Broccoli ideally needs full sun to grow large, wide broccoli heads. However, we eat broccoli all winter long and they get two hours of sun a day, maximum. How?
Well, the broccoli seedlings are started off in late summer so by the time the winter comes and the sun has dropped dramatically, the broccoli is already a decent size. The heads won’t be as round and wide as a full sun broccoli and they’ll grow on much taller stalks as they’re searching for sun.
They’re still delicious though. Once the main head has been harvested the plant will continue to send out mini side shoots. The stalk and leaves are also edible and delicious which is why broccoli earns the number 1 spot in my shady garden.
Kale is another that if you start it off in late summer / early autumn, you’ll be harvesting from it all winter.
Lettuce all just take a moment to appreciate this humble vegetable… Again there is a massive amount of choice of what lettuce you plant. I love cos lettuce in a Caesar salad, while frilly red and sweet green lettuce varieties add colour and variation.
Considering how many recipe bases call for a few stalks of celery, having at least one or two plants you can come pick from is a real lifesaver in the garden. Celery will not grow as quickly in a shady garden but does tolerate lack of sun well. If you start it off in summer it will be good size to carry on throughout winter.
5. Silverbeet & Swiss Chard
You can eat the rainbow with this vegetable as it can come in so many colours! This is a lovely ‘pick and come again’ staple to have in the garden and you know you’ll be getting a big vitamin boost when you eat this.
6. Perpetual Beet Spinach
This one grows just as well as silverbeet does, with the added bonus that you can also eat the root once you’re done picking leaves!
This one is another great one to eat both leaves and root! Young beet leaves in salads are just delicious, so sweet and tender while the beetroot itself is a perfect addition to a coleslaw or salad. The lack of sun will mean slower growth for the actual root but the harvesting of baby beet leaves means it’s not wasted garden space.
Technically a vegetable but really this is dessert territory. Rhubarb is nearly impossible to NOT be able to grow. Even accidentally hacking the whole top off, the roots will push through new shoots as if it were nothing.
Okay so this one is a herb, but it seems people can struggle a bit growing this. In summer it bolts super quick so you have only days to harvest. Luckily a shady place in autumn and winter is the PERFECT time and place for coriander! And once summer comes and it bolts? Don’t even worry, let it go to seed and it’ll self-seed meaning you’ll never need to plant it again.
Eat their greens as a spicy substitute for rocket, and their young baby roots sauteed or raw. The humble turnip is a great option as the baby turnips are more delicious than their adult counterparts so slow growth by lack of sun isn’t a huge issue.
11. Chinese cabbages
Tatsoi, bok choy, pak choy…there are quite a few! Delicious in a stir-fry or as a replacement for spinach, you can’t go wrong growing a couple of these in the garden.
I’ve really narrowed it down, there are hundreds more that I could add to this list! What are your favourite shady vegetables to grow?