Grow vegetables in shade

GARDEN Q&A

Garden Q&A

April 08, 2006|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

DO ANY VEGETABLES GROW IN SHADE?

Not in dense shade. but many fruits and vegetables can grow well in partial shade. when planning your garden, keep in mind that noon and afternoon sun are more intense than morning sun. good candidates are locations receiving three to four hours of sunlight. at those sites, try broccoli, kale, cabbage, turnips, spinach, arugula, radishes, leaf lettuce and beets.

You'll notice that many of these are leafy vegetables. Carrots, onions, parsnips, cucumber and celery need only five hours of sun. Some vegetables, such as pole beans, tomatoes and peppers, actually benefit from a little late-afternoon shade when summer sun gets intense. Rhubarb and horseradish are perennial crops that do well in partial shade.

My backyard has a lot of standing water. Any suggestions for trees that soak up water? The yard isn't very big, and I don't want to block out shade.

Small trees that tolerate wet sites include: river birch (pretty bark), possumhaw (Ilex decidua), winterberry (Ilex verticillata -- red berries in winter), sweet bay magnolia (scented summer flowers, evergreen). Upright or pyramidal evergreens such as American holly and dwarf American arborvitae won't cast much shade. Often large shrubs (10-20 feet) are a good choice.

Checklist

Prune out dead shoots and branches from shrubs and trees. Prune back to the next largest branch.

Sow peas and plant succession crops of spinach, beets, lettuce and radishes.

Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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