While a sunny spot is ideal for many crops, there are plenty of vegetables, fruits and herbs for shady spots in the garden.

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In fact, keeping many crops – herbs and vegetables in particular – out of summer heat will stop them running to seed too quickly, and will produce lusher, leafier growth.

Fruit can also be grown in shade, and some tree fruits, like early cooking apples and morello cherries, don't need the sun to sweeten them, so are an ideal choice.

Get tasty harvests by growing some of our favourite crops for shade.


1

Swiss chard

Five crops for shade - Swiss chard

Easy to grow and versatile, chard can be harvested over a long period. Pick the leaves when young for salads or when larger as spinach. Choose ‘Bright Lights’ to add colour to a shady spot. Protect crops from cold weather with fleece.


2

Broad beans

Five best crops for shade
Five crops for shade - 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.


3

Blackberries

Five crops for shade - blackberries

Blackberries are the best soft fruits for shade. Train onto a wall or fence, or grow a compact variety in a pot. You’ll get bigger, earlier fruits from cultivated varieties, rather than wild plants. For easy blackberry pickings, try growing thornless varieties like ‘Loch Ness’ or ‘Helen’.


4

Cherries

Cherry 'Morello' fan-trained against a wall
Five crops for shade - cherries

Acid cherries grow well when trained against north-facing walls and can also be planted in containers. ‘Morello’ is the most widely sold, producing crops in late summer. You’ll also get blossom in spring and colourful foliage in autumn.


5

Mint

Five crops for shade - mint

Use the leaves to make tea or add them to salads and new potatoes. Mint enjoys shade, but the flavour may be less intense than in sun. Buy in small pots to plant out in spring for a harvest that will keep on giving right through summer.

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Sowing for shade

Most seedlings need good light to grow strongly, so it's best to sow seeds in trays or pots in a bright spot, rather than direct into their final position in shade.

Recipes for shade-loving crops

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