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Shade edibles

 
B.E. Ward
Posts: 78
Location: Urburban Western Washington
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I watched Eric Toensmeier's video with interest, and he mentioned some interesting options for edibles that grow in shade (fuki, hosta, solomon's seal). I don't have the book handy, and in light of Anni's visit, I'm curious if there are others I should consider.. especially here in the northwest.

Tangentially.. I'm curious about how some berries tend to perform in 'mostly shade'. I know there are several that are 'tolerant of some shade', but I wonder if anyone has experimented with a more-shade-than-sun location.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 777
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I have sweet potatoes, Okinawan spinach, and New Zealand spinach growing in areas that get a fair amount of shade. The sweet potatoes don't grow much in the way of tubers, but I harvest the young leaves and tips for greens. Around here thimbleberry will grow in the shade but it isn't very productive and the berries have little flavor. It's a weed here. I use it as a fresh green for the rabbits.
 
Chris Sargent
Posts: 43
Location: SE Alaska
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I'm interested in shade plants as well. My property has lots of shade, mostly from mature spruce and fir trees. I live in SE Alaska so sunlight is hard to come by even in the best location.

I'm just starting to develop some beds and garden areas and have lots of plans and ideas. I did get started on one bed this fall. It's along a side yard that has mature fir trees with an understory of blueberry bushes. The trees have been pruned fairly high so they let in some light but not much. The house is to the south and a large barn and woodshed to the east. The area gets some morning light but parts of it are in deep shade. I built a bed along the pathway that runs around the house. I planted 3 black currents varieties and 2 jostaberries as my understanding is they can tolerate the shade better than other berries. I also planted a few cultivated blueberries in some of the sunniest spots. I can't provide any info on how they're doing as it's too soon to say.

From my observations the wild blueberries and red currents seem to tolerate a good amount of shade...berry production might be a bit lower but still give good amounts.

I'm also experimenting with wasabi. I bought 3 plants this spring...two are in large planters and on is in the above mentioned bed in the darkest spot. The potted ones were placed in different locations both in deep shade. So far they're all thriving on the shade and copious rain here. Getting them to survive the winter here is going to be my challenge.

 
Laura Johnson
Posts: 38
Location: Georgia, USA
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My original garden is really getting shaded out. Tall trees on the neighbors lot. It only gets 4 hours of direct sun a day. Winter it gets more. The soil is great, there are raised beds and brick paths. Artichokes like it there. Asparagus manages. I am in Georgia and we have hot humid summers so those two appreciate the shade.
I need to learn more about perennials and shade. I will bookmark this forum!
 
Joel Russ
Posts: 145
Location: Western Canadian mountain valley
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We've got an old forest homestead, with six acres cleared back in the 1950s - so the gardens (and 30 years of my own experience) are in well-exposed areas.

Personal experience from posters is best (you can ask further questions, etc). But the following are said to do well with four hours daily sun (in some cases less): arugula, carrots, chard, parsnips, spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, garlic (some varieties better than others, I suppose), lettuce, scallions, beets, kale, parsley.
 
Anni Kelsey
Posts: 25
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I have found that some kales grow well in shade, Asturian kale and wild kale in particular. The Asturian kale is relatively small, the wild kale is the opposite, tall and strong, but both of these manage not to falll over. Other kales I have tried do tend to get thick and heavy stems and then they get top heavy and start leaning too much.

Sweet cicely grows in shade of the hedge you can use the leaves as a sweetener and eat the young seeds but its not a main vegetable. It has early flowers though that are good for pollinators. I believe you can eat the roots and I am growing some to try but have not pulled them yet.

I have one skirret plant growing in the hedge as well, it is a good size, equal to those growing in sun, but I have not dug it to see what's below ground.

Mashua is growing up the hedge and has gone mad with growth up through a tree, again it's not harvested so I don't know what's below ground.

I am growing runner beans and french beans up the hedge on the sunny and shady sides. They have done reasonably well but I got them off to a slow start and they could have been better.

I also have field beans, Jerusalem artichokes, land cress adjacent to the hedge. Land cress particularly likes this situation.

Blackcurrants have grown well in my garden in pretty deep shade. Josta berries have been in partial shade and done well. Gooseberry is good in shade as well. Raspberries also good, cultivated blackberries less good which is odd given that brambles thrive in that situation.

The very earliest onions - three cornered leek, few flowered leek and wild garlic also grow against hedges and under trees that have not yet come into leaf. Other onions I have tried (Welsh onion, tree onion, shallots, spring onions) have grown in shade but generally not very prolifically so I try to give them the sunniest spots I can.

Anni
 
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