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Vegetables that don't need much sun?

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#1 Om shanti

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:58 PM

My tiny apartment faces North, and I have no garden or grow lights - so there won't be too much direct sunlight, only a few hours in the summer actually and nothing now, but I want to try and grow some vegetables in the windowsill anyway. I've grown salad all year round previously, they didn't become very big but were ok and I actually produced just about what I could eat myself. I thought about spinach and courgettes this time.. and maybe something else? Strawberries?

Any suggestions for something I could grow here? :teeth:


#2 Beast


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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:22 PM

Sounds like you should stick to a small herb garden. If the plant you are growing needs to produce some sort of fruit, you're gonna need sun. But if you're just growing leaves, like lettuce, spinach, herbs, you can probably get away with that on the north facing window. Otherwise you should consider setting up a shelf with t5 growlight.
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#3 hyphaenation


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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:43 PM

Herbs for the Shade: Annual and Perennial Plants that Thrive Without Sun

Although most herbs are sun-loving plants, over half of the 10 most popular culinary herbs do well in the shade. Even when they aren’t in bloom, herbs provide wonderful foliage and make excellent companion plants for other shade-loving favorites like hostas, ferns, and astilbes.

Perennial Herbs for Shade

Perennial shade-tolerant herbs include mints, bee balm, thyme, sage, anise hyssop, chives, and garlic chives. Mints are known to be invasive, so either don’t plant it or use appropriate means to confine the spreading roots.

Oregano grows more vigorously in full sun, yet it seems adapted to somewhat shady conditions.

Sweet woodruff, a popular perennial herb, is often used as a ground cover in shady areas. During the spring its dainty white fragrant blooms are a delight.

Comfrey, a hardy perennial, does very nicely in partial shade. Throughout the summer it produces attractive clusters of tubular pink, purple, or white blooms. Provide comfrey with a rich, moist soil for best growth.

Lemon balm, a perennial, is a member of the mint family. It is quite tolerant of partial shade. When it self sows the seedlings will be solid green.

Annual Herbs for the Shade

Numerous annual herbs do well in partial shade, including German chamomile and chervil. Some annuals prefer a cool growing season. Dukat dill is a sweet-tasting herb imported from the Netherlands. This will produce over a longer period than most varieties.

Another herb recommended for shade is ginger. As ginger is not very hardy against the cold, either dig it up at the end of the growing season or buy a new root for the next year.

Strictly speaking, parsley is a biennial. However it is probably best grown as an annual since it tastes better the first year. Once it produces a flower stalk the second year, the foliage is inedible. Several varieties of parsley are available.

Like parsley, angelica behaves as a biennial. This majestic herb is tolerant of shade. Sow angelica seeds as soon as they ripen as they can’t be stored for long periods.

Generally, shade-grown herbs will require somewhat less water than those in full sun. Still, they may need some watering during prolonged dry spells. Those planted in heavy soil need watering less often. Not all herbs require sun, some are suited to partially shaded spots.

#4 hyphaenation


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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:45 PM

Shade Tolerant Vegetables (and Fruits)

Frequently Asked Question:
What edible plants will grow in shade?

It depends on your climate, soil, and what kind of shade you have. Is it solid shade cast by a large building, or dappled shade cast by trees? Few edibles will produce in all-day solid shade, but if you have broken shade, or direct sun for at least part of the day, there is hope of getting some vegetables to grow.
Shade is a blessing in hot climates. Areas that get 2 to 3 hours of sun in the morning followed by shade the rest of the day are ideal for growing leafy vegetables during the summer in hot climates.
Here is a list of the more shade-tolerant vegetables gleaned from previous discussions of this question in rec.gardens.edible


  • arugula
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • lettuce
  • mustard greens
  • pak choi
  • parsley
  • sorrel
  • spinach

  • chives
  • garlic chives
  • onions

  • cardamom
  • mint

  • peas
  • bush beans

  • blackberry
  • currants
  • gooseberry
  • strawberries

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#5 Om shanti

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:51 PM

Thanks for the advice, Beast and Hyphaenation!! I definitely want some herbs as well. :-)

Indoor strawberries it is too then. We'll see if they work out to anything in a few years. :)

And maybe I'll try guerilla growing some tomatoes. LOL, I need to get in shape for my MJ guerilla grow this year anyway.

Edited by Om shanti, 03 February 2010 - 02:53 PM.
hadn't seen Hyphaenations last post

#6 strangegem23



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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:29 PM

I feel for you. I am in a similar situation, but luckily I have a south facing window. One plant that would be great to add to your collection goes by many names (Indian Borage, Spanish Thyme, etc.) but I know it as broadleaf thyme, also Cuban oregano.

Posted Image

It has thick fleshy leaves and delightful smell that is difficult to descibe but kinda like a blend of thyme, oregano, and has a certain muskiness about it. Moreover, it it practically impossible to kill! and it will grow in low light conditions, doesn't seemed to be phased by too little or to much moisture or fluctuations in temperature (so long as it doesnt get below freezing).
Once you get a plant established it is amazingly easy to propagate via cuttings.
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#7 BotanyPhD


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Posted 19 February 2010 - 03:42 PM

Deb Brown at the University of Minn. has an article on gardening in the shade. Good info..


Peace and Veggies..
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