Must-Know Tips for Gardeners With Limited Sun - How to Have a Thriving Garden Even in the Shade!

If you have big dreams of a bountiful garden but are held back by shady land, you’re not alone! Many gardeners have the frustrating task of trying to grow plants amidst beloved trees or even around tall buildings that let in less sunshine than is ideal.

Don’t give up on having an amazing garden, though. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re gardening with limited sun.

Portable raised beds are your friend

Maybe you do get full sun in your yard - just not in the same area throughout the day. If your backyard is sunny in the morning while your front yard gets all the light in the afternoon and evening, for example, you can plant crops that require full sun, it will just require more labor on your part to make sure they get it. Portable raised beds can be moved around your yard to follow the sun. They’re not difficult to build, but they can be very heavy to move around, so this method isn’t for the weak. There are a few ways to accomplish this: you can go as simple as flower pots in a wagon, or you can get handy and build raised beds with wheels from scratch. You can even buy them all ready to use.

Use vertical space

Got a small sunny patch? Make the most of it by going vertical. You can fit more plants in a space when you think up and down rather than across. Vining plants are a great start. Use poles or trellises to train pole beans beans, cucumbers, peas, and climbing tomatoes to grow upward to get the sunlight they need. 

Some plants do well in shade

Learn to love veggies that don’t require full sun to do well. Root vegetables typically don’t need as much sunlight to thrive as others. Carrots, potatoes, beets, and radishes can do well with just four hours of sunlight. 

Leafy vegetables can produce with very little sun. Though not ideal, you can harvest plenty of lettuce, kale, and arugula with just 3 hours of sun, as long as the plants are well cared for.

Most herbs will also do just fine with limited sun. Perennials like rhubarb and asparagus can also thrive in shadier areas, so give those a go, too. 

Focus on soil quality

The better your soil, the better the chances your shaded plants have of thriving. Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil is a gardener’s best friend. Buy or create your own compost to add to your beds. Your soil will also benefit when you rotate your crops, so be sure not to plant the same vegetables in the same areas year after year. 

Don’t overwater!

Shaded areas will naturally stay more moist, since there’s less sunlight evaporating water from the soil. You’ll want to be careful not to overwater your plants. Plants you are used to watering in full sun will require much less when they’re living in shadier areas. Water at the base of the plants only, and do what you can to encourage light and airflow. Such as... 

Give trees a trim

Even if you’re not willing to cut down a tree in your yard completely in order to create a sunny patch in your yard, consider a trim, at least. You may be able to get a bit more sunlight to some areas simply by removing a large, leafy branch or two. Similarly, it may be time to tear down any under-used outbuildings if it means more sunlight can reach your garden.

As you can see, even those of us with shady plots of land can still enjoy an abundance of fresh vegetables from our own garden!

About the Author:

Kylie Worthington is an herbalist, wellness writer, and mother passionate about equipping women to approach health holistically in a modern, mechanical world. She founded Everblossom to serve as a resource for healthy, meaningful, balanced living. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
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