So a good deal of you commented last week about what to grow in the shade (what are y’all, mole people?) and I have a small treasure trove of vegetable delights that do well in shade. Last year we had an enormous tree in our back yard that threw half of our garden into shade for a food portion of the day. What did we grow?
Lettuce. So. Much. Lettuce.
Mother of god, that lettuce was fabulous. It was lush and verdant and I had never more in my life wished I was a salad person. I doused that shit with vegan green goddess dressing (to be fair I douse everything in vegan green goddess dressing) and went to town. My rabbits also ate like tiny furry irritable queens. Lettuce does best in cool moist conditions, so early spring is its best time, though it will grow well all year round. You can also grow it in containers indoors!
Now by shade I mean dappled shade, or something that gets around three hours or so a day of partial sun. There’s a little leeway, but the only plant I know that grows in total darkness is wheatgrass.
Say you want something spicy. What’s a shade gardener to do? Well arugula and radishes also do well in shade. Be sure to keep plenty of arugula seeds handy, it bolts in the heat faster than John Boehner from sunscreen. Don’t cry, though! Arugula grows quickly and can be resown several times during the garden season. And once it bolts? The flowers are delicious on salads… unlike our moistest member of Congress. Radishes are what I jokingly call the fast food of gardening, because you can have a full-grown radish in three weeks. Some varieties aren’t as fast but offer a wide range of flavor and color choices. Both of these should spice up anything you were planning on cooking!
Leafy greens are another easy shade plant. Kale, collard greens, spinach, etc. All of them will thrive in the shade.
And there you have it! Our first installment of SHADENATORS. Now you literally have no excuse not to grow food!