Are your garden harvests smaller than you dreamed of? Have you come to the realization that your garden may be in a less than an ideal location?

Think again.

You may be trying to grow the wrong vegetables, given your climate or access to sunlight. Or perhaps your garden just needs some additional manure or comfrey fertilizer to nourish the hungry plants – or both.

The location and layout of a garden both mean a lot to the success of a bountiful growing season, as does:

  • seed selection
  • irrigation
  • and soil quality

In order to harvest more than enough vegetables and fruits for canning, you can’t have one without the other. But there is one deciding factor that will make or break a garden.

The sun.

Or lack of it.

Sun-loving plants

If your garden is located in full sun, you are in luck!

You’ll experience positive results growing the following vegetables:

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • peppers
  • corn
  • squash
  • beans
  • peas
  • melons
  • okra

When you see a plant label requiring “full sun“, it means that the plant will benefit from a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day, though they will thrive with 8-10 hours of direct sunlight.

Keep in mind that too much sun, can be too much of a good thing!

Even tomatoes prefer a little shade in the hottest of summers, a little something to prevent sunscald.

Another downside to planting in full sun, is that your garden may need to be irrigated and/or shaded during the driest and hottest weeks.

Trees, buildings, fences – they all provide varying levels of shade at different times of day.

So, if you have a shady patch in your garden, take advantage of all it has to offer, there are a plethora of vegetables that will enjoy it!

Vegetables that thrive in partial shade

Another way to look at this label of “partial shade” is “partial sun”.

If your garden boasts just 4-6 hours of sunlight a day, the following vegetables are definitely worth a try. Later in this article we’ll share more veggies that can grow in even less sun.

Always remember, with gardening there is no right or wrong answer as to where you plant your veggies, as there are so many variables.

One year you might have a bumper crop, the following year it will go bust. Never let fear of failure prevent you from trying! There is something new to learn each and every season.

I do know for a fact, that planting and caring for perennials has tremendous advantages.

Perennials are low-maintenance, just as they help to build soil. Plus, they extend your garden harvest into spring and fall as they enhance the landscape with their glorious colors and forms. Many perennials will perform well in partial shade.

For the moment, however, let’s focus on annuals that grow abundantly in partial shade.

1. Beets

2. Broccoli

3. Cabbage

4. Carrots

5. Cauliflower

6. Celery

7. Garlic

8. Green onions

9. Horseradish

10. Leeks

11. Parsnips

12. Peas

13. Potatoes

14. Radishes

15. Rutabaga (Swede)

16. Salsify

17. Turnips

18. Watercress

Vegetables that grow well in shade

By shade, we mean garden areas with access to approximately 2-4 hours of sunlight each day.

Leafy vegetables readily fall into this category, and we all know how good those are for you!

As you are designing and planning out your garden, make sure to include a

few of these shade loving vegetables.

19. Arugula (Rocket)

20. Brussels Sprouts

21. Kale

22. Lettuce

23. Mustard greens

24. Sorrel

25. Spinach

26. Swiss chard

Get creative with shade!

Areas with deep shade, which receive no direct sunlight, are best left to flowering ornamental perennials, rather than vegetables.

If your garden doesn’t naturally have shade, you can make some by planting with the rise and fall of the sun in mind.

Taller plants such as beans and corn will grow relatively quickly, providing light shade for radishes, chives and other shade-tolerant herbs.

In the heat of summer you may need to use shade cloth, or row covers, in times of excessive temperatures and scorching sun.

You can also get creative with your own shading inventions using materials and skills you have on hand. Burlap stretched over a metal or wooden frame is an unpretentious way to shade your vegetable patch.

You could also try weaving willow, or hazel, frames for your garden, propping them up against stakes to protect your shade-loving veggies from both sun and wind.

A final word about maturation times

You’ll discover through your own gardening experiences what vegetables grow best on your property – how long newly planted seeds take to germinate, how profusely they flower and how many weeks until first harvest.

It is important to note for first-time growers that vegetables grown in the

shade often take just a little bit longer to reach maturity than if they were grown in full sun.

If you are planting in shade, it is not a less than ideal growing condition, it is just a different growing condition.

Adjust your expectations accordingly, and enjoy all the beautiful produce from your shade-loving veggies!