Shady Gardening

I have a shady garden. It catches all the summer breezes, and I'd call it bright, open shade. We are in Zone 7b, so there are only a couple months when I can't grow if I plan for it, and summers are 90'-100'f (32'-38'c) and humid. The patio is about 4x12 feet, facing north-north-east. I have to be vigilant about watering, too, as it's fully covered.

While I cannot grow anything edible that flowers or fruits, I can successfully grow leaves & roots. So, almost any herb or eating green has done well, as have the sweet potatoes. I will keep updating this page, so that all the information is in once place for easier reference.

Plants I've tried that did well:
  • Rosemary
  • Mints
  • Lemon balm
  • Chives
  • Lettuce mixes
  • Swiss Chard: Ruby Red. Or, pick your colors over at Sustainable Seed Co.
 The chives are 5 years old. They flower every year, and provided the picture I use in the blog title. Mints also do well, and the rosemary is now aiming at 10 years old. For lettuce I buy packets of mixed seed and direct-sow into the pots. The thinnings are eaten. They don't grow as big as the ones you get at the store, but they couldn't be fresher and I've learned I can grow lettuce about a month longer in the spring that I'd be able to if they got full sun.
  • Sweet potatoes
You can eat the 'decorative' sweet potatoes although I didn't know that at the time. They filled up their pot! I've tried beets, but I planted them too late. I still have the seed and will be trying them again. I also have seed for short carrots - they'll only get about 4" long, so they'll fit in the pots.

Plants I'd like to try:

Root Vegetables:
  • Carrots:
  • Beets:
  • Sweet Potatoes:
    • TBA. I know they will grow on our balcony, though!
  • Turnips:
For me, 'shade tolerant' means the plants will produce food with an hour or two of sunlight and open shade the rest of the day. 'Heat tolerant' hopefully means that it will keep producing without going to seed in humid, 100'F weather.

If the year is given, it means the seed was introduced around that time. I prefer heirloom seeds, and grow  open-pollinated varieties.

What kinds of food have you tried to grow in the shade?

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