In this video, we are going to solve your shady garden woes. Whether you have a big building blocking you, a big tree, a big house, whatever the case may be, and you say, oh, I can’t garden, I can’t grow anything worthwhile. Think again because, after watching this video, you will still be harvesting Epic amounts of produce. What’s going on gardeners? Kevin Espiritu here from Epic Gardening, where it’s my goal to help you grow a greener thumb. Now you might say, I have two to four hours of sun. What am I supposed to do? Grow, eh, I don’t know what to grow. Well, it would be a big mistake to ignore those sections of the garden.
You can still squeeze out, like Isaid, an impressive amount of yield. So we’re going to go over 12 differentvegetables and herbs that do well. Some that do really well andsome that can tolerate shade. And then at the end of thisvideo is a little bonus. I’m going to go over six different tipsto really help maximize your results in your shady garden.
Direct Sun in your shady Garden
So let’s cultivate that Like button andlet’s go ahead and kick into the video. Let’s use my front yardgarden as an example of thethree categories of sunlight that can be falling on aparticular space. So first of all, you have all these beds right here, thesesouth facing beds, this one, this one, this one, this one. These are directsun. They’re getting six plus, sometimes eight plus hours of directsun throughout the day during the peak hours of the day too – 10:00AM to about sunset or so. So these are really the classics. You can grow more or less whateveryou want in these beds. Now over here, and these were really the ones for thepurposes of this video that we’re talking about, this style of bed or thisstyle of location in the garden.
These ones are blocked by a loquat tree. They have a little bit of blockage by anawning and some of the property behind there. So they’re getting anywhere fromthree to five hours of direct sun a day. And then the rest of the day they’regetting a nice dappled sunlight. It’s not completely shaded out, but it’s certainly not as bright asthese beds over here. Our final example, and the one that we’re going to ignore, again for the purposes of thisvideo – would be a full shade. And so that would be something likein my backyard in the shady zen oasis, that’s why it’s called that. There’s almost no direct sun and so I’mgrowing a lot of ornamentals and stuff back there. Not a wholelot of edibles. So again, for the purposes of this video, these part shade style beds are theones that we’re doing our 12 crop recommendations on.
So let’s go ahead and get into those. Crop number one. It’s hanging out in our veggie pod. Here it is the spinach plant. Spinach. Wow. It is an incredible,incredible cold-tolerant green. It’s a great shady garden crop and Popeye eats it. So we should obviously all follow his suit if we want to get ripped and have massive biceps like Popeye. But things to know about spinach. Number one, as I said, cold tolerant,which means is heat intolerant. So you don’t want to grow it in too many spots that are getting blasted both by direct sun and by excessive amounts of heat. That makes it a really good early spring crop.
It makes it a good fall into winter crops. In the summer you can make it happen by putting it where – in your shady garden, right. Now the thing I’ll say about spinach is I recommend starting from seed, but indoors it’s a slow germinator sometimes can take up to two weeks to germinate even though it’s a nice big seed. And you know that can sometimes test your patience when you’re direct sowing it.
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So I recommend starting indoors and then you can keep starting it on succession and just producing crop after crop aftercrop of delicious, nutritious spinach. Crop number two is chard. We have this yellow chard here that looks absolutely amazing. It is looking slightly paler than I would like it to, but it’s been growing for a while in a pretty shady spot. In fact, I actually forgot about this grow bag for a little bit, and only recently did I pick it back up. And lo and behold, everything’s growing pretty well. So chard is effective something that you can perennialize, you can just grow it in a shady spot and just come pick it as you need it. I can come with my shears here, clip, clip, clip, leave the rest,
and it’ll still keep growing and growing and growing. And it can get pretty massive. So as you can see, I haven’t chopped this one in a while. When you’re starting chard, remember that the seeds are compound. There’s more than one seed in the thing that you think is the seed. It’s very, very large. And so within there are multiple seeds. Oftentimes you’ll get more than one chard plant germinating from that one “seed” that you put into the ground. So feel free to direct sow it, feel free to start indoors. Very cold tolerant plant. And you can just really let it be. And the nice thing about it is it pops in color. There’s oriole orange chard, there’s ruby red chard, there’s rainbow chard.
There’s white chard, pink chard, any color under the sun literally you can do with chard. And it puts a nice pop of color and a nice pop of flavor into your shady garden. Shady crop number three is going to be most varieties of leaf lettuce, really almost any variety of leaf lettuce. You can have your pick here. Lettuce is a very quick growing crop.
Of course, it will grow a little bit slower in the shade so you can pick an even quicker cultivar, something that matures in let’s say 35 to 45 days as opposed to in that 55 plus. That’ll help you out a little bit. Of course, starting from transplant is going to help you out a little bit because if you’re starting the seed by direct sowing in your shady bed, then that early growth is really going to be stunted. So if you go ahead, start it in your seed starting system and then transplant some really nice and healthy seedlings, then you’re going to get it off to a much better start. But almost all of them do really well. Lettuce can sometimes struggle in high temperatures and direct sun.
These very sensitive leaves can have a hard time. It’s a shallow-rooted plant and so that really speaks right to the benefits of a shady garden. The soil doesn’t dry out as much, the temperature is a little bit more stable and a little bit on the colder side. Crop number four, which I coincidentally just harvested out so I don’t have an example. You’re going to have to enjoy this beautiful Beni Houshi mizuna in the background. But crop number four is a twin crop, so it’s endive and escarole or endive and escarole. Comment down below the correct pronunciation cause I actually don’t know, but these are really underrated greens.I’m not sure why they’re not grown more. I think some people might have a hard time with the flavor, but I personally think if you throw it into a mixed green salad it tastes really nice.
They look really nice and they grow really well in a shady garden. Now again, I know I’m kind of beating the drum here, but this is when you definitely do want to start indoors because I’ve noticed that both endive and escarole seeds are much slower to germinate as compared to most leafy greens. The lettuce we just talked about, lettuce is a quick germinator, anything like arugula, kale, et cetera, that’s all a quick germinator. And then the escarole the seeds look like little, um, kind of like little satchels and they just don’t seem to take as quickly ten plus days. And so start them indoors, get them off to a good start, and then just mix a little variety into your leafy shaded garden.
Shade-loving crop Numero Cinco, are peas. Peas are the quintessential spring crop. And what does that tell you? That means that they really will struggle as you move into those more direct days of sun, that higher level of heat. So that tells us that it also could do pretty well as a shady crop.
Now, this is an area where, ofcourse it’s spring right now, so they’re getting agood amount of full sun, but it’s a little bit more mild sun,but these are doing really well. They’ll do completely fine ina shady section of the garden. You can even pull that off as youmove into summer a little bit. Maybe the peak of summermight still be a little hard, but you can still make it happen. Now, another fun little hack that I’ve donewith peas is if you sometimes have a hard time getting them to adhere and climb up, sometimes they like to like flop outthis way and do all sorts of weird stuff. Remember, nature is amazing. They’re climbing via their naturalorganic tendrils that are just adhering to this trellis, but sometimesthey need a little help.
So I’ll take these little hooks here andI’ll just do that and that helps pull it back towards the trellisand it’ll climb up. But yeah, peas a fantastic one. You candirect sow them, that’s a nice seed. Soak it then direct sow it.You’ll do completely fine, although I will saytransplanting has worked. It’s just a shallow rooted plant and youwant to make sure that more or less you don’t move it. Whether you’retransplanting it or direct sowing it, just let it be where it is. Let it climbup and make sure it’s nice and moist. Maybe even throw a little mulch on topjust to make sure it doesn’t dry out because again, it’s, it is a shallowrooted plant.
But it will thrive, absolutely thrive in a shady garden. Shady crop number six as I munchon my freshly harvested pea, it’s another one that I actually don’thave here. Oh, that’s really sweet. Man, another props for peas. So sweet,so delicious. I don’t have it here. I just harvested out a bunch of them.It’s radishes. The humble radish. I think a lot of people havea problem with growing radish, not because it’s hard to grow, but because they don’t reallyknow what to do with it.
I will say pickling radish has been oneof my best ways to use it as well as picking young and roasting the radishor working the young radish into a nice little salad mix. Nice and fresh. Now the thing about radishes -will they do well in full sun? They can definitely handle it, although they will bolt ifthey get blasted by the sun. They just grow slower but they’ll stillbulb up. You just have to be patient. So I would say if you’re growing it ina two to four hours of sun section of your garden, like backbehind the camera over here,
throw another 15 days or so on the maturity. But that’s fine because you weren’t going to use that space anyways. Right? So you might as well squeeze something nice out of it. And the beauty of the radish is I probably have more different varieties of radish seeds than I do any other type of plant. It’s just so versatile. You have green Lobo, you have black Spanish, you have watermelon, you have, you have Beni Hida, you have the di, uh, the humble daikon. I mean the daikon, it’s not even humble.
Best Shady Crop in your garden to grow 12 Perfect Vegetables
It’s a massive plant. So radish is amazing, incredible variety in that plant. There’s just so much you can do with it. So highly, highly recommend radish. It’s a kind of a sleeper hit. A lot of people think it’s a boring plant. There’s way more than you think about radish. As we move into shady crop number seven we’re starting to get into crops that are not necessarily shaded lovers, but I would say they’re shade tolerant. You can still get a decent yield, although that yield might drop a little bit. Now that would be potatoes for number seven surprisingly, they still can do pretty well. Now, the reason I’m sitting in front of something that’snot potatoes here is that the potatoes that I’ve grown so far this spring came from my compost pile.
They were some old small potatoes that I tossed in there that I actually got a decent yield out of, and this is definitely a shady compost pile. Not your classic way to grow potatoes, but effectively you could consider that like a lasagna bed if you’re familiar with that technique of gardening or almost like a straw bale gardening style because of the way that the ingredients are layered in there. But again, grow them in soil. You don’t have to grow them in a compost bin. They’re still going to do well in the shade.
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I would say for my personal tastes, I, first of all, I love new potatoes. I don’t know about you guys but that going to be a good way to do it. As soon as you start to see those flowers develop, you may want to just pull those potatoes that have been planted in a shady section because it’s going to be hard to get them to size up like crazy. It’s going to take a long time. So I like to pull, pull those new potatoes, enjoy them, and plant something else in the shady garden. But potatoes can still work in your shady beds. Crop number eight. Another one which I have yet to plant in this garden would be a very fast maturing, cold, tolerant bush style tomato.
So a determinant style tomato that is suited for an early spring planting. That can actually work. You can get a decent yield out of it. I would say Glacier tomatoes are a decent one to look at. Really any tomato that has the name of a cold area, any tomato that has a name that relates to Russia or New York or Canada. A lot of those cultivars, of course, are going to do well in a colder area because that’s what they’re named after, right?
And so surprisingly, you can still squeeze out a yieldof tomatoes in a shady garden bed. Now the thing I will say is put it inthe best sun access spot of your shady bed. So if you have a bed that’s gettingtwo hours and a bed that’s getting four hours, obviously opt to put your bush tomatoesin the four hour bed and maybe put your spinach in the two hour bed.But you can still do it. And so don’t count out yourshady gardens. Our next crop, surprisingly would be a bush bean.
Bush beans will produce in a shady garden, obviously opt towards thathigher end of the sunlight. But this surprisingly iskind of a shady garden. This is a GreenStalk vertical towergarden that I planted out with 100% bush beans and they’re actuallystarting to produce. You can see you’re getting a littlebit of bush bean production here, but remember this is a vertical tower, so only half of it is gettingsun throughout the day.
So to compensate for that everymorning I just rotate it one half. And so then I make sure that at leastevery other day one of the sides is getting blasted with full sun. But if you think about that onlike a month over month basis, these are only getting 15 days offull sun per day and I just rotate it. So these are still producingreally well. You can see, and you will see later on when I releasea full grow guide on growing beans vertically in this particular system, you’ll see that we’re going to get areally good yield out of these. Next, we’re in the world of herbs guys.
And also if you’re from the UK, I will pronounce it theway you choose, herbs. These are the herbs that youcan grow in a shady garden. So if you’re from the UK, please hit the like button becauseI used the pronunciation you prefer. I got a lot of comments about thatand having spent some time in London, I do appreciate the accent. So, basil,it’s a quintessential full sun crop, but again, it’s one that will tolerateand sometimes even thrive in shade, especially if you grow it for pollinationor more ornamental style gardens. So here I have an African blue basil bush.
This is my favorite perennialstyle basil that does really, really well in the shade. I’ve cut this back twice ina pretty severe manner andas you can see it’s still exploding in growth. We have abee that just landed right now. So it’s a fantastic pollinator plant.I have Greek columnar basil right here. As you can tell by thename, it grows straight up. Many of these basil varieties you see areactually in another video I did called eight rare basils that you’veprobably never heard of.
So feel free to check that video out. I have another Thai basil that’s hangingout down here with these really unique flower clusters that Ithink are quite beautiful. Behind here we have pesto Propecho, which you can see is that lightercolored basil. And I also have Tulsi, also known as holy basil. So basil is more or less 50% of thisshady garden bed and it’s absolutely thriving. Our next herbs that do well in the shadewould be cilantro and parsley. These ones can do really well. Cilantro especially does really well inthe shade and I’m kinda going to trim this one up a little bit. It’slooking a little worse for the wear, but this has been in a shady section ofthe garden for quite some time and it’s doing perfectly fine. Cilantro actually struggles
becausein the heat it will start to bolt. Now I recommend gettinga slow bolt variety, slow bolt cultivar ofcilantro to help prevent that. But still the number one problem Ihear from everyone who comments here on Instagram, on the podcast and email iswhat do I do when my cilantro is bolting? And one of the best things I recommendis put it in a shadier section.
Yes it’s going to grow slower,but yes, it also won’t bolt. And that’s really what you’re tryingto avoid when growing cilantro. So you can mix it into all those classicrecipes that you love. Our final crop, before we get to our six shadygarden tips, is a green onion. Now I say green onion because I thinkit’s a good idea to leave the bulb onions, your shallots, your, yourjust red, white onions, all those to a direct sun area of thegarden cause you really want all that energy to get sent down into the bulb. You really want to give it the best chance to bulb up. But if you’re going to eat the leaves, like we are with the green onion then come through, chop it up, then that’s totally fine. Throw it in ashady garden. It’s going to grow slower.
It’s going to be nice and tasty and you’rejust going to get a consistent supply of that delicious allium flavor thatyou want without as much of the effort. Okay, we’ve made itthrough our suggestions, so go ahead and cultivate that Like buttonif you want 20 years of good luck in the garden. But we’re going toget into these shady garden tips, so some things that you can do toreally maximize your shady garden. Now I’ve talked about a couple of them,peppered them in throughout the video, but the first one would be just rememberthat it is going to grow slower. Remember, most of these things are shadetolerant,
not necessarily shade loving, so they’re going to grow slower, maybe throw another 15 to 25%on their days to maturity. But you are still going to get a yield,so that’s completely, completely fine. Tip number two, you’re going to have to rememberto water a little bit less often. Remember the thing that we are notgetting in a shade garden, is sun, what’s the second effect of that? There’s going to be less water evaporatingso the plants aren’t going to need to be watered as often, so really try toavoid over-watering your shady garden.
. So start it indoors with some seedling heat mats. I have a whole video on how to do that and then transplant it in. Tip number four for a shady garden make sure to give it as much fun as you can give it. Now that means if you have to prune a tree-like you guys have seen my epic loquat tree out there. Once that’s done fruiting and I’veharvested it and it’s time to give it its prune for the season. I need to make sure and go ahead and do that as quickly as I can because that’s going to open up that area.
It’s going to let a little more sun in. Maybe I squeak out 30 minutes more of direct sun a day in that shady bed. That’s good. That’s going to actually boost the growth of those plants. Tip number five is kind of a more intensive one, but if you do have a fence, a wall, some sort of thing that you could paint a different color, lighter colors are going to reflect more light. And you’d be surprised at how much that can actually boost the overall light levels of a shady garden. So if there’s something that maybe needs a little bit of touch up, an old garage, an old wall and you want to paint it a lighter color, that can actually help boost the light levels. Our final tip,
number six, thanks for sticking with me guys, is consider growing in containers. In your shady garden sometimes you can think of it kind of as a staging area so you have all your containers in the shady garden and then as something needs to be moved into an area with more sun, pick the container up, move it over and put it out there. 12 Perfect Vegetables Grow bags are a really good idea for this.
One of my favorite 12 Perfect Vegetable methods for container gardening. I do a lot more of that on the channel. But those are my tips for shady gardens. Now there’s a lot of other plants that can work. I’m curious if you have one that really worked for you in a shady garden. Go ahead and drop that in the comments and let me know the next style of list type of video you’d like to see here on the channel. I’m putting out three videos a week andI’m really trying to make everything as good as I can get it for you guys. The best information I can possibly get out there because I know a lot of us might be stuck at home.
We’re trying to garden more. We’re trying to really like to lean into our hobbies. You know12 Perfect Vegetables, for me, this is a business and is a hobby. So I’m definitely trying to put some good stuff out there for you guys. So until next time, good luck in the garden. Cultivate that Like button and I will see you in the next video.