The Q&A Archives: Growing Beans in Heavy Shade

Question: My father has a very shady yard and wishes to grow a vegetable garden. He is especially interested in bush green beans. Do you know of a type that will grow well in the shade (hardly any sun maybe 1 hour a day)? Can you please send info on any vegetables which will grow under these conditions? Richard Staples Cincinnati, OH

Answer: I'm afraid that beans tolerate only about 3 hours of daily shade. Perhaps rigging up some sort of reflective surface around the bean plants would make the most of the sun he does get, and may be worth trying - in fact, experimentation is one of the highlights of gardening! Generally, though, if there isn't a way to create more sun (i.e. tree removal), then I'm afraid beans aren't a favorable option. Some herbs will grow in shade (oregano, lemon balm, costmary), and many ornamental plants thrive in shade (hosta and ferns, for instance).

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