~ Management Practices and General Instructions ~
In the modern age of hustle and bustle, many people are opting to garden as a hobby to mentally relax and produce fresh foods. While all people do not have access to large and sunny backyards and gardens, you can still produce excellent vegetables.
Vegetables grown in the shade produce succulent eatables and the quality of edible portions can be greatly improved by various management measures and production practices. Growing vegetables in the shade is an excellent strategy to protect vegetables from extreme heat and careful management can raise the quality and quantity of produce.
Let’s find out which vegetables are in this category and how to grow them!
Vegetables whose leaves and roots are being consumed can be easily grown in shady places.
Salad greens below can be grown in the shade:
as well as root crops such as:
Vegetables that can tolerate light to partial shade include:
- Leaf lettuce
- Corn salad
- Chinese cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
More details about growing vegetables in the shade are discussed below.
Kale is a hardy vegetable and can grow well with light shade. Gardeners can grow a good range of different colors and shapes, but regular picking of leaves is highly recommended to generate good production. Kale prefers nutrient-rich soil to grow so continuous addition of organic matter is recommended to ensure excellent growth.
Kale can be grown directly from seeds or from seedlings. Its seeds are quickly germinated in warmer conditions but should be covered with ½ inch (1.25 cm) layer of soil. A spacing of about 16 inches (40 cm) between seeds and seedlings should be maintained to give enough space for growth dimensions. Other than providing growing space, this is also a beneficial approach for air circulation. A healthy and vigorous growth is thereby promoted.
You may be interested in my other article, Organic Garden Soil and its Benefits.
Beets can grow in shady areas but their seeds should be sown in bright conditions to provide a strong start. Later, their seedlings can be transplanted into cool and shady conditions. Beets prefer cool temperatures so they’re a good choice in late summer and spring. Beets should be planted about 3-4 inches (7.5 -10 cm) apart and 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Spreading a layer of shredded leaves, grass clippings and straws is a good approach to preserve moisture content. This also ensures uniform growth of roots and offers protection against unexpected heat spells.
Although, cauliflower is a sun-loving crop, it can tolerate partial shade. It thrives well in the cooler temperatures and its growth is directly affected by extreme hot weather and scorching heat. Its seeds can be directly seeded in good quality soil or peat soil. Cauliflower grows best in well-drained soils and requires even moisture. So pots or growing places should not be allowed to dry. Cauliflower is prone to diseases and insect pest attacks which may present challenges for gardeners.
Lettuce is an annual plant, and many varieties grow better in shady conditions. Although their normal growth requires regular moisture conditions, they are able to tolerate dry spells with good care and management. Lettuce plants have two main types of growing habits. The growing plants either make the tight heads known as head lettuce, or they produce loose and bushy plants known as leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce grows better in the shade and only requires about 5 hours of sun. It can still grow with even less sun exposure.
The rooting system of leaf lettuce is shallow. It can grow with light irrigation, so there is no additional need to worry about frequent watering. In any event, too much watering can render plants more susceptible to damage and disease. Mulching is also a useful and appropriate technique to conserve soil moisture and helps to reduce the problem of weed growth. The harvesting time can be greatly improved by succession planting. Depending on climatic conditions growers can set out new plants in early fall or late summer.
General Instructions to Grow vegetables in Shade
Although, some vegetables can thrive in shady places, their normal growth and development requires some special care and management. Gardeners should only use nutritionally rich and healthy soil, and use compost and organic fertilizers to improve soil condition. Watering requirements are also different in the shady areas. Watering frequency and irrigation requirements should be decided according to the requirement of the particular vegetable.
Shady gardens should be regularly checked for insect pests such as snails and slugs. Some insects prefer to live in shady and cool areas and may cause significant damage to vegetables. The use of reflective mulches is well recommended and is a good approach for casting light onto the plants. Damage caused by pests can be reduced in this way.
Vegetables can be grown in containers. If they are suffering from any stress, they may be shifted to sunny conditions for a few hours during the day. However, the direct placement of containers in the scorching heat should be avoided.
Direct plantation and growth of vegetables under trees should be avoided as vegetables must compete for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Instead, vegetables can be grown on a raised bed, especially where space is limited.
Before selecting which vegetable to grow, gardeners should have a good understanding of the ideal type of shade of the plant, such as partial shade, dappled shade, or prolonged hours of shade.
It is necessary to know the reflection of sunlight by nearby bright surfaces which can significantly increase the amount of sunlight and heat to the garden. The use of reflective mulches is the best approach here to increase plant vigor and growth.
Shady gardens should be cleaned and the prevalence of weeds, insect pests, and diseases should be prevented. Nearby bushes and trees should also be regularly pruned to increase the exposure of sunlight on growing vegetables.
You may be interested in an article about Organic Garden Soil and Its Benefits.