What Vegetables Grow in the Shade?

Some of our friends have complained that their yards were so shady that they doubted they could grow anything in a garden. In answer to their questions, here are some plants that can be grown in shade. Don’t give up on your yard either. Vegetables grown for their leaves, stems or buds can tolerate shade better than those grown for their fruit or roots, although some of these can tolerate light shade. Their size or yield may be affected, but they will still taste good.

Leaf LettuceLeaf Lettuce - is one of the first plants up in our garden each year. It thrives in soil of most any type, but does best in moisture retentive soil with some compost available. Our garden beds get partial shade from a neighbor’s oak trees. This has been a benefit as the summer temperatures rise. Lettuce often wants to bolt, or go to bloom, as the temperatures rise. One gardener suggested planting lettuce north of a row of sunflowers that can provide partial shade making the lettuce bear longer. You don’t have to wait until the plants get really large to begin harvesting. Cut the leaves individually with scissors. The plants will continue to produce new leaves. Leaves will get bitter as the plants begin to bloom.

 

Green OnionsGreen Onions - are cold hardy and can tolerate partial shade. We plant green onions starting in the fall in Pensacola and add a few more bulbs each month to assure we have green onions into summer. Good companions for onions are potatoes and lettuce. Cut the green tops for sauteing or garnishing. As they grow larger, the white bulbs can be harvested, too. Onions like a little organic fertilizer or compost. Harvest before the rainy season, they don’t like wet feet and will rot. Use them in potato dishes, with peas, and green beans or steam them in a foil packet on the grill. AllRecipes.com has a green onion pancake recipe.

swiss chardSwiss Chard - likes sun or partial shade and is hardy to about 20ºF. We planted some in January, right before the temperature dropped to 18ºF. We covered them with shade cloth. They suffered some brown edged leaves, but are recovering now. A member of the beet family, they can have green, yellow or red purple stems. Chard can be eaten raw when young in a green salad, added to smoothies, or sauteed in olive oil with garlic and crushed red pepper. This green is best when served immediately after picking. It is loaded with nutrients, second only to spinach. In addition to anti-oxidants, it can also help stabilize blood sugar levels and benefit the pancreas.

sugar snap peasSugar Snap Peas – are one of our most favorite veggies. When the pods start developing, we start hovering with anticipation. The edible pods go a lot farther than the pea seeds. We eat them in green salads, if we can get them to the table, and as part of a sauteed vegetable mix. Sugar snap peas need to be trellised and last longer if grown in light shade. Keep the soil moist. We sprinkle with liquid fertilizer, once they start blooming. Peas contain vitamin C, K, niacin and anti-oxidants. They have the best food value when eaten immediately after harvesting.

Billie Nicholson, Editor 2014

 

Additional Articles in the April 2014 Issue:

  • A reminder to review and rotate three types of items in your 72 hour emergency kit.
  • A discussion of the importance of “duck and cover” in surviving a nuclear attack
  • What are your plans to provide protein in your diet in an emergency situation? Here are some items to add to your supplies
  • Are members of your family hearing impaired that might not hear a smoke alarm?
  • Our featured contributor this month is Tess Pennington of ReadyNutrition.com. She shares an article about Bio Mass Briquettes. Now you’ll have an environmentally friendly use for those shredded documents.
  • Sun Ovens are a perfect partner for bio mass briquettes, here’s how …
  • Speaking of gardening, do you use Epsom salts? Here’s why.
  • We can all be prepared to take the initiative to save a life, should we be faced with a life or death situation. Here are three critical first aid procedures that can be accomplished with one dressing.
  • Our Solar Chef has included a wonderful recipe for Solar Stuffed Shells. Give it a try, these are yummy.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
April 2014

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