Gardeners living in homes with partially shaded yards need not get discouraged when it comes to vegetable growing. While no vegetables can grow in full shade, some vegetables tolerate partial shade. Such vegetables still require at least three to six hours of sunlight. Without at least this much sunlight, vegetable plants can appear growth stunted. Provide shade-tolerant vegetables with adequate water, fertiliser and weed-free soil.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables make the best choices for gardens in partially shaded areas. Vegetables grown for their leaves tolerate fewer hours of sunlight than other types of vegetables because the plant loses less energy on growing fruit or roots. Grow partial shade-tolerant vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, kale and cabbage where they receive at least four hours of sunlight. Harvest leafy vegetables at almost any time.
Several herbs can be grown in partial shade. Parsley, garlic, mint, coriander, thyme and tarragon grow in light shade. Picking the outer leaves first on herbs helps the plant focus its energy on the inner leaves, allowing it to continually produce throughout the summer. Use harvested herbs fresh or dry and use later.
Exceptions to the Rule
Most root vegetables prefer full sun, but beets, spring onions, turnips and radishes break this rule. These will all tolerate light shade. In fact, vegetables such as radishes prefer some shade, since hot summers cause them to taste especially hot. A few fruit-bearing vegetables also break the full-sun vegetable rule. Peas and beans can grow in less than full sun. Broccoli and cauliflower can thrive in shaded areas, too, as long as the weeds are kept to a minimum.