Shady gardens


Most vegetables like sun.

If your garden is shady, you can't grow vegetables. Right?


Some vegies really will sulk if they don't get plenty of sun. Others however can be coaxed along, and

some fruits manage without full sun.

Give them the best possible chance by ensuring that your soil is top notch: rich, deep, friable, and

moist but not soggy.

Then choose varieties that will cope best with less sunlight:

Think leafy greens for starters. Loose leaf lettuce, silverbeet, French sorrel, rhubarb, rocket,

coriander and mustards can manage with less sun than things like tomatoes and sweet corn.

Berries such as raspberries, youngberries and loganberries don't enjoy our hot summers in

sun. Likewise cranberries, chokeberries and red or white currants.

Try mint, French tarragon, watercress and Vietnamese mint.

Flowers liven up salads and garnishes. Nasturtiums, heartsease pansies and borage are

worth a go.

Parsnip, parsley, celery and celeriac self-sow into shady spots in our garden as does Miners'

Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). The latter is shown on the page header photo.

Go exotic! Try taro, Burdekin plum, ground nuts (Apios americana), wasabi, curryleaf, ginger,

turmeric and lemon grass. Some of these will need warmth but not direct sun.

Avocado trees burn in hot summer sun. The Wurtz variety can be grown in a pot and

reportedly manages in some shade.

Grow your own coffee!

Here's an unusual one: Smynium perfoliatum. This is a readily self sowing plant that will

grow in
shade - you may need to remove seed heads to limit its spread. Stems, leaves, and

flowers have a celery-like flavour and the seeds can be used as a pepper substitute.


Not readily available. Try Stephen Ryan's Rare Plants at Macedon.