Living in an apartment where the balcony is shaded and facing north does not permit a whole lot of light to fall on my garden. Most traditional crops require a fair amount of sun to be productive. Some are more shade tolerant than others, but I have been hard-pressed to find some delicious plants that will thrive in my little shady space. It has, however, been done. The next step is a little more challenging. I want to bring edible, shade-tolerant plants into my home and office.
So far my list of shade-tolerant species, though un-tested is: -garden Cress -Dragon Fruit -Miner's lettuce -radishes: to a certain degree -black pepper -avocado: should produce if you let it have some mild sun occasionally -mushrooms
I feel like there must be many more. Please let me know of other low-light survivors or lovers. Also, if it is not common, where do you find the seed? Furthurmore, has anyone else tested these plants before?
if you are a salad lover you should be trying things like mesclun and other mixed greens as well as cole crops, i love the cut and come again salads, as you can keep them going all year around if you keep them cut ..reseeding as they thin out..
also you can try to expand your sunshine that you have..by either using reflective surfaces like white paint or mirrors..and also if you want to go that way you can use some flourescent lights to help to grow more light lovers.
not very "green" but it will help if you need the light in the house anyway
Bloom where you are planted.
I tried making a shade garden (the usual suspects listed above) last year. I square footed in an old raised bed, that is now overgrown around it. If I am imagining your balcony facing north, I can only imagine you will be facing the same problem I did: trying to grow in almost no sun. I tried, but it did not work for me.
Consider container plantings. Tomatoes and peppers are beautiful plants
BUT there is hope! I am a would be guerrilla forest gardener. I have been slowly eeking my way. Experimenting. Which brings me to what brought me to this post. Maybe it needs a new post. And it is... Morning sun versus evening sun plants. I have found that beans, especially pole, like to climb the trees on the west edge (evening sun) while Cucurbits, can handle the morning sun side. Obviously, almost every vegetable would love full sun, but we make do where and how we can. Has anyone else done any experimenting along these lines? If so I would LOVE to know your findings.
posted 8 years ago
This is a very neat topic as well. I have collected seeds to MANY varieties of things that generally are not shade plants. Genetics are an amazing thing. Lots of beans and grains, and squash varieties, also some other stuff I will bring up later, along with things listed here. some other stuff to. Being in an arid region and walking the forests make it abundantly clear that shade offers better water retention, so I find this very interesting.
Thanks for all the input. It is something that I find personally useful, but could also be beneficial to many city dwellers who want something fresh. As Silverseeds pointed out, many plants do grow in the shade of others. The ones commonly cultivated for mass production by humans tend to perfer full sun - like an open field. I am hoping that, as time goes on, I will be breeding shade adapted varieties of those crops. I have little hope for squash at this point, though (as I have not gotten it even to the point of reproduction yet). However, there must be an abundant amount of non-traditional crops that provide food substance for humans and are shade tolerant. For instance, Arrowroot is another edible (I just looked up on Wikipedia). Some iceplants are edible as well.