The Q&A Archives: Shaded Vegetable Garden

Question: My vegetable garden is shaded by both a white pine and a river birch (15 ft. away). Both are mature trees. The plot is on the south side of the house and normally would get sun all day exept for these 2 trees which are on the neighbor's lot. The soil is good. (I suspect sifted black dirt is the basis of the plot, courtesy of the previous owner.) My question is, what kinds of vegetables are shade tolerant? I buy tomato plants which do OK, but want to grow snow peas, bush beans and squash from seed. Will these work or am I doomed?

Answer: Tomatoes require about the most sun of any garden vegetable, so if you've been getting a good crop of those, then you should be able to plant any of the others you mention. Snow peas like cool weather, so plant them early--they may even appreciate a little shade once the weather warms. Leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and some herbs, generally tolerate shade better than fruit-producing plants like tomatoes and peppers. If there's any place in the garden that gets more sun than other spots, I'd put the tomatoes and squash in the sunniest spots. I think the beans will do well anywhere in the garden.

Is there anywhere you could set up some containers in full sun? Tomatoes adapt well to container-growing, and will appreciate the full sun. Good luck!

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