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hi there, wondered if anyone could help. I have a veg plot that is in near perma shade due to the houses shadow and hedges i am unable/not allowed to reduce in height. I cant move it so wondered if anyone knew of any light optmising techniques...i dont even know if this is exists but was thinking of some sort of sheeting that would reflect light back onto the plot?! Thanks all

Veg need natural light, all plants do to grow, reflecting wont work. Move the veg plot or grow rubarb.


That's a bit blunt, isn't it!

I think you are going to have to work with what you have rather than try and fight it. Several things would be happy in shade - raspberries, blackcurrants, red currants, strawberries, gooseberries  - and rhubarb  - will all do well.



Our last garden was north facing and also shaded by neighbouring houses and trees.  We grew runner beans, french beans, Swiss chard, carrots, strawberries and courgettes successfully.  

Good luck 


You would have far better luck than me if you like lettuce! My Garden is full sun, dawn till dusk in growing season, and my prob is things bolting! Do you get 4-6 hrs sun in any part of it? If so, put things that want a bit of sun there, and grow stuff like Waterbutts and Dove said everywhere else. If you try in containers before digging beds, you'll see what could work for little outlay, and could be pleasantly surprised to find that more things will grow than you expect. In the one darkish bit I have next to garage I grow spuds and salads in poly pots that I can move as the sunlight changes through the yr. Link for the polypots

They have lots of sizes, depending what you want to grow. They're on the idea of these spud gro bags everyone advertises now.

Yrs ago, when I first wanted to grow veg, I had a teeny yard, and my first yr I grew just the free seeds from gardening mags, but in pots, and there was little advice for pot growing then, but I thought I would have a go. Dad came and watered for me in June for 2 wks when I went on hols. OMG.  I came home to a veritable jungle! In my shady, tiny yard, I had sown seeds in quite small pots, and read on the backs of the packets how to sow and when to harvest.

Gods, was I naive?! When I left, there was decent growth. In 2 wks, as the growing season got into it's stride and I was away, everything had romped away, I had beans were there had been no flowers, and I had NO idea spuds grew so big! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but you don't always learn from it! Or from books, either.  I hate runner beans, so do my kids, but I grow them every yr, because of that first success.  Yet books and seed catalogues seem to tell me that they need more care and better weather and more pollination than so-called easier french or dwarf beans. Ha!  I say SOW IT AND SEE! (See what I did there, WB and Dove? was that a pun, or a joke? was it, was it?)

I think, if you are just wanting to try to sow a few seeds, nowt lost. Even the most experienced gardeners have some total failures every yr, but what is a few pounds spent?  It is unlikely that everything would fail, then you'll start to get a feeling for your garden and your soil.  I think, in growing veg there are few hard and fast rules that apply now or ever as our climate (and many other things you will read about), change the goalposts every yr. New composts, feeds, bugs, viruses, etc!

Get a handful of packets of seeds, don't read or plan too much (my biggest mistakes!), sow 'em and see what they do, and have fun doing it.)

Where I am cautious and take time is in planting fruit plants that have cost me a bit.  But all of the fruit plants that Waterbutts mentioned do well in most positions and most soils, and would be hard to kill. They all came from 'forest/ woods type situations to start with, and my rasps have been in quite deep shade now for 4 yrs, but now established I am currently picking a colander full of autumn (primocane) ones every 2 days. (about 3-4lbs).  Much better than the summer ones in the same cage, if you don't mind waiting a little longer for bigger, fatter, juicier and sweeter ones!

Don't worry too much about your light. All conditions change every yr, and what did well last yr,may not do well this, even for the most experienced gardener on a similar plot. Last yr, my carrots were great, everything else me

Wow thanks all and thanks for the comprehensive response gardenjeannie, im probably pressuring myself to get it right first time as the raise beds are new and i cant wait to get started but will definitely take those tips on board and just see what does well and what not so. Cheers all!

No, Star, especially not when I look on this forum. So much to read, learn, ask!!!!


And, Robin, just go for it. Don' fret or plan too much, just stick in what you like. (or your neighbours or friends like!) I will say that the 'growveg' site can be fun and helpful. It's a garden planner tool for growing veg, ha ha.

You get a 30 day trial, then it's £15 yr. have a look.

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