The best fruits and vegetables for the shade

Can’t grow fruit and vegetables in the shade or on the north balcony? Even a surprising number of plants can cope with little light. Here you will find the best species and tips for growing them.

A surprising number of types of fruit and vegetables are suitable for growing in the shade. We have put together the best for you here. Admittedly, under large or evergreen trees there is nothing in the garden with a bed of fruit or vegetables. This is not only due to the lack of light, the competition from the tree roots is so strong here that the plants cannot develop well. On a north-facing balcony, a shady terrace, in light partial shade under / next to trees or in the wandering shadow of tall buildings, there is nothing to be said against growing, provided that the plants get at least three hours of sun per day in full shade.

Which fruits and vegetables also grow in the shade?

Fruit: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, morello cherries, wild strawberries

Vegetables: cauliflower, beans, broccoli, peas, lamb’s lettuce, lettuce, spinach

Herbs: wild garlic, dill, mint, parsley, chives, woodruff

Fruits and vegetables for the shade

Anyone who comes from the forest has learned from the start how to manage with little light. Shadows therefore tolerate types of fruit such as currants, raspberries and blackberries, wild strawberries and, on acid soils, blueberries. The same applies to morello cherries (Prunus cerasus), the delicious sour cherries from France that have been tried and tested for centuries.

Vegetables that thrive in the shade are types of cabbage such as broccoli and cauliflower, but also peas or beans. They all love it bright, but they also grow satisfactorily in partial shade and light shade. The same applies to spinach, lettuce or lamb’s lettuce. However, you shouldn’t expect the vegetables to be less light than in the light penumbra. The reason for this is harmful nitrate, which tends to accumulate in its leaves – especially in the absence of light. In the sun, the nitrate is broken down again during the day so that the concentration is lowest during an afternoon harvest.

Which herbs grow in the shade?

You don’t even have to try Mediterranean herbs like rosemary or thyme in the shade – as pure sun worshipers they stand in full sun and develop their full taste only in the sun. But dill, woodruff, chives, mint or parsley doesn’t mind a shady location and they develop their intense aroma even in low light. And of course the wild garlic, which as a real forest dweller is not even set for the sun and even dries up there quickly. The vigorous plants need a break-proof bed in the garden with vertically buried stone slabs or wooden slats.

Some herbs such as woodruff also grow in the shade

Growing tips

There are a few special features of shadow gardening: The plants naturally grow weaker in the shade than in the sun and therefore need less fertilizer and water. If the application rate shows from-to information on the fertilizer pack, always take the lower dosage. The wild garlic mentioned is even completely incorruptible. Fertilizer does not make it grow better, the nutrients from the fall leaves are enough for it. In addition, less water evaporates in the shade and the plants dry more slowly. As a result, the air humidity is higher there than in the sun. Therefore, do not water generally, but only as required. The floor should be slightly damp but not wet and should dry on the surface between watering. Snails can become a problem in high humidity. Snail barriers or some slug pellets are therefore part of the basic equipment.

Tip: If you want to grow fruit or vegetables in the shadow of a high wall, you can paint them bright. That sounds banal, but the location is actually brightened up significantly by the reflected light.

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