What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade. Easiest Crops To Grow In Shaded Areas

Make use of every available space in your garden this year by growing a selection of hearty vegetables that love shady areas.

Some gardeners avoid growing vegetables in the shady areas of their garden, which is a shame as plenty of shade-loving crops do well in areas that get little or no direct sunlight.

Many gardens in England suffer from shaded areas caused by fencing, properties, shrubs and trees, but when you discover which vegetables thrive in the shade, you will surely use that shaded space more productively.

Some of the easiest veggies to grow prefer the shade, so it makes sense to utilise the valuable space and grow some tasty treats this year.

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

Vegetables To Grow In The Shade

Even though vegetables that love to grow in the shade may not require much sunlight, it is best to start your plants in a greenhouse or on a windowsill if possible. By growing the vegetables this way, they get the sunlight they need to develop their leaves, which will give them a head start.

Growing vegetables in the shade can be beneficial in many ways. Shaded plants are less likely to bolt as they won’t be subjected to the harsh daytime sun.

Once the vegetable plants have established enough leaves, they will be ready to plant out in the shade. Plants that love the shade will do well with some sunlight, ideally during the morning or late evening is best.

Do I Need To Prepare My Soil Before Planting Vegetables?

You will need to prepare your soil before planting your vegetable seedlings or seeds to ensure the best possible success. We recommend using organic well rotted compost. Avoid using rotted manure on its own as this can be too strong and burn the roots or leaves of the plants.

You may want to add some vermiculite to the compost, which will help it to retain moisture. For an effective solution to your compost drying out you may want to add natural woodchips on top of the compost which will retain more moisture in the compost.

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

1. Beets 

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

Beets are a tasty veg to grow and enjoy shaded areas with some sun throughout the day. If they don’t get any sun it may take a little patience as they will grow slower. All vegetables require some sunlight, so be sure to plant in the shaded area of the garden that gets even just an hour of sunlight.

Plant the seeds in biodegradable seed cells in full sun to start them off and establish the leaves and roots before planting out once the last frost has passed.

Ensure that the plants are placed approximately 12 inches apart when planting out. Allowing the plants some space minimises the risk of fungal disease, mould and rot by allowing the air to circulate between them.

2. Lettuce

How To Grow Lettuce

Growing lettuce is not only a staple part of most of our diets, but it’s also tasty and makes a great addition to any salad. Growing lettuce in the shade is more beneficial than if grown in direct sunlight. The shaded area for this vegetable will mitigate the risk of wilting or bolting and improve the flavour of this favourite salad ingredient.

Slugs and snails tend to be more prevalent in shaded areas of the garden so choose an upright, loose-leaf variety, such as lollo rosso, to minimize damage. Harvest the leaves from the bottom up and try to ensure they aren’t dragging on the soil’s surface. This will make it more difficult for slugs and snails to get high up on the plant leaves.

Plant lettuce directly outside in the compost as they are too fragile to replant from seedlings.

3. Swiss Chard

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

Chard is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Not only is it healthy, but it also looks fantastic in the garden, especially in the shaded areas where this wonderous plant thrives. Sow your Chard seeds directly in the ground in springtime and you will benefit from a plentiful supply throughout the year and into the cooler months.

Chard can grow into large plants so it is important to give them space and ensure there is good circulation to prevent fungal diseases and mildew to which they can be prone to. Mildew is a white chalky substance (fungal disease) that can stunt the growth of the plant.

The stems and leaves of Chard are edible and there are many varieties to choose from. It is a versatile plant that can be added to many dishes.

4. Carrots 

Planting carrots is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Once you have mastered growing carrots you will be presented with an abundance of edible sweet goodies. It is best to plant carrots in the shade to prevent them from bolting.

To ensure a good crop, plant the seeds directly into compost that is approximately 8 – 12 inches deep depending on the variety. Baby carrots for example need less depth to grow in, however, even “wonky” carrots can conjure up some amusing moments that will make the family chuckle!

Ideally, carrots do need some sunlight, so it is best to ensure that they have at least an hour or two of sun, otherwise, you may need to be patient as the growth rate will be slower.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli, cauliflower and Kohlrabi are excellent veggies to grow in the shade. Broccoli and Cauliflower will benefit from the slow growth from being in the shade as they have to be picked a few days before they go to seed. Grow in the sun initially to establish the plants and protect them from slug or snail damage then plant out in your shady spot. An alternative would be to grow companion plants with them so deter would be munchers.

6. Kale


What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade recommends Kale as one of the top 10 veggies to grow in shaded areas. Kale is considered one of the superfoods and is packed with nutrients and vitamins our bodies need to maintain health.

Cavolo nero or the frilly and crunchy leaves of redbor are sure to provide you with tasty nutritious food, even in the winter and early spring when other crops are dormant. Kale can be started in a sunny position and then moved to its final place in the sun once established or, plant out directly in the soil where there is partial sun.


What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

Radishes are one of the fastest and easiest vegetables to grow in shade. They are deliciously peppery and work well cooked or raw in a salad.

You can sow radishes directly into the ground and shade can keep radishes from bolting – putting up a flower stalk – which is a great advantage because once a plant bolts, it can taste bitter. A little shade can also help keep the soil cooler and slow the evaporation of water, which is a bonus.


spring onions

Spring onions, or scallions, are easy to grow under most conditions, although growth will be slower if you choose to grow spring onions in the shade. The more sun they are given the faster they will grow, so to get a longer cropping period you might consider growing some in the sun and some in the shade.

Sow them in modules in a sunny spot to help the plants to establish themselves before you plant them out as a clump in the shade. If you are growing them in partial shade – areas that get about 6 hours of sunlight a day – you can sow them directly into the ground.


What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

Salad leaves, such as pak choi, mizuna, mustard, bok choy, tatsoi and cilantro are among the easiest vegetables to grow in the shade which is why we have included them in our What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade blog.

As with lettuce, other leafy greens are prone to bolting, and therefore careful use of shade can make them easier to grow. Plant directly in the ground and as they can be too fragile and temperamental to move once germinated.



Celery is a great addition to a veg patch, but it can sometimes be a little disappointing without proper conditions. Those crunchy, watery stems that we are used to can be chewy and bitter when grown without the right conditions. Thankfully, growing celery in shade can help achieve good results.

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Celery needs a lot of water to produce tender, juicy stems. Shady areas are often damper, as not as much water is lost from the soil’s surface through evaporation. Growing these vegetables in shade also helps to slow down their growth, which helps create tender stems. Many growers use collars around celery stems to shade them and keep them pale and tender.

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