Don’t let a shady garden spot stop you from growing your own vegetables. While many gardeners dream of 8+ hours of full sun, urban gardening often means making the most of less-than-ideal conditions. Fortunately, many vegetables and herbs can thrive in partial shade, and some even prefer it!

Understanding Partial Shade

Partial shade refers to areas that get 3-6 hours of sunlight a day. It can also include places with dappled or filtered sunlight for most of the day. With a bit of trial and error, you can successfully grow a variety of veggies in these conditions. Here are some great options to consider:

Salad Greens

Arugula, Endive, Lettuce, Sorrel, Spinach

Lettuce Leaf Basil - Weird and wonderful herbs


Salad greens thrive in cooler weather and partial shade, making them perfect for shady spots. They are prone to bolting (going to seed) in hot, sunny conditions, but shade can help extend their growing season. Aim for 3-4 hours of sun per day.

Leafy Greens

Collards, Kale, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard

These greens, often enjoyed cooked, can grow well with just 3-4 hours of sun daily. They may grow more slowly but can be harvested as tender “baby greens.”

Root Vegetables

Beets, Carrots, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabaga, Turnips

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Root veggies can be harvested small as “baby” vegetables or allowed to mature. In partial shade (4-5 hours of sun), they take longer to grow but are less likely to bolt. Radishes, in particular, prefer some shade to avoid becoming woody. Consistent watering is key for all root veggies.

Brassica Vegetables

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage

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Brassicas form tighter heads and flower later in partial sun. They need about 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. With broccoli and cauliflower, you can often get a second, smaller crop after harvesting the main head.

Peas and Beans

Shade can extend the growing season for peas and beans, which can thrive with 4-5 hours of sun each day. Regular harvesting encourages continued production.

Leeks and Onions

Leeks and onions prefer cooler, moist environments and do well with around 4 hours of sunlight daily.


Mint, Chervil, Chives, Coriander/Cilantro, Oregano, Parsley



Herbs are a wonderful addition to a shady garden. They grow faster with more sun but still do well with at least 4 hours of sunlight. Be mindful with mint—it grows vigorously and is best kept in a container to prevent it from spreading too much.

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