By Colleen Vanderlinden
Mother Earth News
For success growing in the shade, remove low-hanging branches from nearby trees, use raised beds and liners to discourage tree roots from wicking water away from crops, and use reflective mulches to give plants more light.
For many gardeners, the optimum conditions most vegetables prefer — eight to 10 hours of full sun — just aren’t possible. Whether it’s from trees or shadows from nearby buildings, shade is commonly a fact of gardening life. Luckily, shade doesn’t have to prohibit gardeners from growing their own food. If you start with the most shade-tolerant crops, take extra care to provide fertile soil and ample water, and consider using a reflective plastic mulch, you can establish a productive shade garden and harvest a respectable variety of veggies.
How Much Shade Is Too Much?
All shade is not equal. Some shady conditions will yield much more produce than others will, while some areas are better left for hostas and moss. Gardeners should be familiar with the different types of shade, but should also keep in mind that measuring how much shade your garden gets isn’t always easy.
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