I have been going around in circles on the internet trying to find cold-hardy, shade-tolerant, edible perennials whose roots will survive overwinter - in containers - in my concrete-paved, tree-lined NYC backyard (zone 6b.) Any suggestions? Also anything that I might be able to get started planting either now or in the fall?
I'm more than happy to do the research (if you have any links or books specific to this region or those needs) but I keep going around in circles online as it is hard to find plants that check off all the boxes.
Dwarf hardy fruittrees, chives, strawberries.. maybe chinese yam if you have room for climbers. Sea kale might be another, not sure about containers as I'm just trying it for the first time. What about sorrel, or edible hosta. Some of it is going to be specific to size of container, if you can cover well, how much wind protection it gets from drying out, etc. Gooseberries do well in shade if you are allowed to have them.
posted 3 months ago
I should add that the yard is fenced in on all sides by high walls thus there is no wind factor to take into account but there are plenty of climbing vine opportunities. I can completely control the container size and covering up of plants overwinter.
Location: Western MA, zone 5b
posted 3 months ago
I'd experiment then! Find plants that look like they meet 2 or 3 of your criteria and start there, they may surprise you. Microclimates count for a lot and if you have some wind protection and covering, things might do better than expected.
And maybe rhubarb. I would plant as many varieties as possible, keep the good ones and replace the bad ones with shade tolerant annuals like herbs, collards and large leaf silverbeet like the "fordhook giant" variety. I have two perennial pot gardens in a major city. My method is to fill the pot 80% with free draining soil and top with compost (sifted if i'm direct seeding). When you grow plants in the shade you need high quality compost or worm castings, as the lack of light slows growth and makes plants susceptible to pests and disease.
"Criticism is always easier than constructive solutions." ~ Jaron lanier
Currants will grow in shade - black, red and white. I'll second rhubarb, also Jerusalem artichokes, buckshorn plantain, mint. Oh, and hardy fuschias grow in shade and have edible berries. Apparently fiddle head ferns, but I haven't grown them myself.
Miners lettuce and lambs lettuce are reliably self seeding annuals so they're a bit like having more perennials
Looking forward to updates!