10 best vegetable crops for shade

10 best vegetable crops for shade

We've picked our favourite vegetable crops to grow in shade.

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


For some vegetable crops, a little shade can actually be an advantage. Sheltered from the sun, you will need to water the plants less often. What’s more, some crops, such as salad crops, can struggle in heat, so will produce more lush growth in shade.

Discover 10 vegetables to grow in shade, below.


Swiss chard

Vegetables for shade - Swiss chard
Vegetables for shade – Swiss chard

Pick the leaves when young for salads or when larger, as spinach. ‘Bright Lights’ has attractive colourful stems. Sow from March to September, and protect from frost with fleece.

How to grow Swiss chard



Vegetables for shade - savoy cabbage
Vegetables for shade – savoy cabbage

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.



Vegetables for shade - beetroot
Vegetables for shade – 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.


Salad leaves

Vegetables for shade - salad leaves
Vegetables for shade – 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.

How to sow salad leaves in a pot



Vegetables for shade - kohlrabi
Vegetables for shade – 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.



Vegetables for shade - radishes
Vegetables for shade – 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.

How to sow radishes



Vegetables for shade - carrots
Vegetables for shade – 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’.



Vegetables for shade - leeks
Vegetables for shade – 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 some shade. Try reliable, hardy varieties such as ‘Musselburgh’ and ‘Autumn Giant’ for heavy crops.



Vegetables for shade - kale
Vegetables for shade – kale

Kale is a hardy crop that 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.

How to plant kale


Broad beans

Vegetables for shade - broad beans
Vegetables for shade – broad beans

Broad beans do well in dappled shade. Early maturing ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is ready to pick a month earlier than other varieties.

Recipes for shade-loving vegetables

Vegetables for shade - recipes
Vegetables for shade – recipes