Attempting to develop a vegetable garden in a shady yard does not have to lead to frustration. It’s possible to develop a selection of vining vegetable plants in a lightly shaded areas by selecting the ideal types and beginning with good soil. In deep shade however, with less than 2 hours of sun every day, vining vegetable plants grow poorly and frequently fail to flower and fruit.
Pole bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) tolerate shady growing states. All these annuals have tender pods which can be eaten fresh or dried and hardened. Pole beans develop 5- to 8-feet tall with a vining growth habit. While they are more tolerant of low-light states than some other types of plants, the more sun you can provide them the better. Plant pole beans where they will get at least four hours of sun every day.
It’s possible to grow peas (Pisum sativum) in a garden with five or four hours of sun each day. Peas, like sugar snap peas and garden peas, have a tender shell full of plump peas. A vining pea plant will climb a trellis or other structure growing 1 to 8 ft tall. Peas are an annual that develop best during cool winters in light Mediterranean climates.
In low-light growing states, summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) is also a suitable option. Summer squash has a thin edible skin and includes the dark green zucchini types and yellow squash. It’s a trailing vine that grows 2 to 4 feet wide and 1 to 3 feet tall. Grow summer squash throughout the warm spring and summer growing season. Summer squash can get by with two to six hours of sun every day.
A warm-season yearly, tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) develop throughout late spring and summer. While strawberries thrive in full, bright sun you’re still able to develop them in part shade if they get just two to six hours of sun and the area is bright most of the day. Some tomato varieties develop better in reduced light than others. Generally speaking, any of these types made to grow well in cool climates can also be well-adapted to less light. Determinate varieties grow best in low light but these types are frequently more bushy than accurate climbers. Start looking for such Siberia (Solanum lycopersicum “Siberia”), a cold-climate standard red tomato that grows well in low light, or Oregon 11 (Solanum lycopersicum “Oregon 11”), a number developed to ripen early in the growing season.
Increase your likelihood of successful growing in low-light gardens by beginning with good soil. If you are gardening in a raised bed, then use a soil mix composed of equal parts compost, vermiculite and peat moss. In a standard garden bed, amend the soil with 2 to 4 inches of compost dug into the upper 8 inches of the soil. Hand weed around the crops to minimize competition for nutrients throughout the growing season.