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10 best vegetable crops for shade

Although a sunny spot is ideal for most fruit and vegetables, many vegetable crops, including beetroot, radish and salad leaves, will grow in shade.

Discover vegetable crops for beginners.

For some crops, protection from summer heat can be a positive advantage. Salad crops, for example, will produce more lush growth and won't run to seed as readily.

Discover 10 vegetables to grow in shade, below.


Swiss chard

Pick the leaves when young for salads or when larger as spinach. 'Bright Lights' has attractive colourful stems. Protect crops from cold weather with fleece. Sow from March to September. Read more about growing Swiss chard.

Brassicas

All brassicas are tolerant of shade, so as well as as cabbages try growing broccoli, spring greens or Brussels sprouts? Sow seeds in spring for late-season cropping. Net the plants to protect them from cabbage white butterflies.

Beetroot

Beetroots are tolerant of shade, but to get them off to a strong start, sow seeds in modules in bright conditions and then transplant when they're growing well. Sweet-tasting 'Boltardy' is a reliable variety, or try orange 'Burpee's Golden' or striped 'Chioggia'. Sow seeds every few weeks in spring and summer for a succession of roots. Watch our video guide to growing beetroot.

Salad leaves

Try loose-leaf lettuces, including oak-leaf types and varieties such as 'Lollo Rosso', plus fast-growing, spicy leaves like mizuna. Once the soil has warmed up in spring, sow outside in small batches every few weeks for continuous cropping. Find out how to sow salad leaves.

Kohlrabi

Sow kohlrabi seeds little and often, when temperatures are 10°C or above, and water plants regularly. Peel the swollen stems and toss in butter roast, add to stews or grate raw into salads. The leaves can be eaten like cabbage.

Radishes

Radishes can be ready to eat within a few weeks of sowing. They're great for adding a spicy kick to salads. Repeat sow for low-effort, non-stop harvests. Watch our video on growing radishes.

Carrots

Carrots

Carrots can tolerate afternoon shade. Avoid squashing the leaves when thinning out seedlings, as the scent attracts carrot fly. Or try pest-resistant varieties 'Flyaway' and 'Resistafly'.

Leek

Leeks

On shady plots that get morning sun and afternoon shade, you'll be able to grow leeks - they need some sun but can cope with shade. Try reliable, hardy varieties such as 'Musselburgh' and 'Autumn Giant' for heavy crops.

Kale

Kale

Kale is a hardy crop tolerates light shade. Grow a range of different shapes and colours, including 'Black Tuscany', 'Red Winter', 'Dwarf Green Curled' and 'Red Curled'. Pick the leaves regularly to encourage more to form.

Broad beans

Broad beans

Hardy overwintering crops such as broad beans, which get off to a quick start in spring, can cope in dappled shade. Early maturing 'Aquadulce Claudia' is ready to pick a month earlier than other varieties.

Discover the 10 best fruit crops for shade.




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Talkback: 10 best vegetable crops for shade
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Syviamac 18/03/2016 at 14:28

My garden is in shade in the morning and sunny in the afternoon - how does this change the advice given on types of veg to grow?

obelixx 18/03/2016 at 14:42

My veg plot is on the north side of the house so is in shade all winter but does get full sun for about a month either side of the summer solstice when it's high enough.  Morning and afternoon sun the rest of the year.

I grow salad leaves, red onions, Savoy cabbage, curly kale and cavolo nero, fennel, turnips, kohl rabi, leeks, beetroot, Swiss chard, broccoli.  Carrots don't seem to work in my soil.    I also have rhubarb and black and redcurrant bushes and purple gooseberries.