Shade Tolerant Crops

Being a city dweller living in a tiny apartment in a dense urban environment I find that due to the shade cast by the buildings around me I lack the option of planting crops that require full sun. That being said I’ve been digging around for the best shade tolerant crops . This is my list so far:

Crop Shade Notes Growing Tips
Arugula At least three to four hours of sun per day. Arugula welcomes shade, as this crop is prone to bolting as soon as the weather turns warm if in full sun.
Asian greens At least two hours of sun per day. Asian greens such as bok choi (also spelled “pac choi” and “pak choi”), komatsuna and tatsoi will grow wonderfully with a couple hours of sun plus some bright shade or ambient light.
Chard If you grow chard mainly for its crisp stalks, you will need at least five hours of sun per day; if you grow it mainly for the tender baby leaves, three to four hours of sun per day will be enough. Expect chard grown in partial sade to be quite a bit smaller than that grown in full sun. Baby chard leaves are excellent cooked or served raw in salads.
Culinary herbs At least three hours of sun per day. While many culinary herbs need full sun, chives, cilantro, garlic chives, golden marjoram, lemon balm, mint, oregano and parsley will usually perform well in shadier gardens.
Kale At least three to four hours of sun per day. You’ll notice only a small reduction in growth if comparing kale grown in partial shade with kale grown in full sun.
Lettuce At least three to four hours of sun per day. Lettuce is perfect for shadier gardens because the shade protects it from the sun’s heat, preventing it from bolting as quickly. Often, the shade can buy a few more weeks of harvesting time that you’d get from lettuce grown in full sun.
Mesclun One of the best crops for shady gardens. Grows in as little as two hours of sun per day and handles dappled shade well. The delicate leaves of this salad mix can be harvested in about four weeks, and as long as you leave the roots intact, you should be able to get at least three good harvests before you have to replant.
Mustard greens At least three hours of sun per day for baby mustard greens. Mustard grown for baby greens is best-suited for shady gardens.
Peas and beans At least four to five hours of sun. If growing these crops in partial shade, getting a good harvest wil take longer. Try bush and dwarf varieties rather than pole varieties.
Root vegetables At least four to five hours of sun per day for decent production. Beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes and turnips will do OK in partial shade, but you’ll have to wait longer for a full crop. The more light you have, the faster they’ll mature. Alternatively, you can harvest baby carrots or small new potatoes for a gourment treat that would cost an arm and a leg at a grocery store.
Scallions At least three hours of sun per day. This crop does well in partial shade throughout the growing season.
Spinach At least three to four hours of sun per day. Spinach welcomes shade, as it bolts easliy if in full sun. If you grow it specifically to harvest as baby spinach, you’ll be able to harvest for quite a while as long as you continue to harvest the outmost leaves of each plant.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. abarn003 says:

    This is fantastic! I grow an extensive garden in the city, too, and it’s pretty difficult! I’m glad we digitally bumped into each other and I look forward to following your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CropLuck says:

      This is my first year growing a city apartment garden. My partner in CropLuck has been growing a back yard farm since last year. Which city are you in? If you’re anywhere local to Southern California we’re hosting our first CropLuck event this Saturday. There will be resources to empower people to start there own garden. Share food. Share knowledge. Connecting organizations. Farmers. Growers. Enthusiasts.


      1. abarn003 says:

        I live in Virginia. Too far for an event in California! But I hope you write about it in your blog! I’d love to hear any of your thoughts from the even!


      2. CropLuck says:

        We will indeed be posting about the event so stay tuned for that! One of our goals is that people feel empowered to take the idea of hosting their own CropLuck to their community. We’re on Facebook @CropLuckLA – you can follow us there for more information too.


  2. Reblogged this on Home Grown and commented:
    This has some really useful ideas – the only thing is that a typical summers day in the UK might only have 3 hours of sunshine 🙂 I think that there are definitely plants we will grow in the side this year.


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