Friday, June 26, 2009

Yes We Can. . .

. . .grow vegetables in less than 8 hours of sun per day. This isn't the first time I've had a veggie bed in less than full sun.

Cukes are happy.

Tomatoes are blossoming (sorry about the blurry photo.)

It might not be quite as productive as veggies grown in 6-8 hours or more of direct sun.
But I have no complaints.

. . . No baby squash yet, but the vines are growing and blooming beautifully.

The peas are still growing, blooming, and producing in spite of the heat. With the arrival of 90-degree temps, some vines are beginning to dry out. I remove them, leaving those that are still producing. Peas are interplanted with squash, pole beans, and cucumbers on the trellis in my small garden.

Garlic scapes have been removed. (Aren't they cute?) I've never grown garlic before, and learned about removing the scapes from Gina. They are delicious! Last week I sauteed some with fresh asparagus. Yum!

My small veggie bed gets about five hours of late morning through afternoon sun, and everything is growing and producing well. I'm growing lots of lettuces and other greens, peas, several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, garlic, beets, pole and bush beans, and squash.

On the other side of the house, which gets only morning sun, I threw in a few extra peppers, and they're producing as well.

My first veggie garden was already growing when I moved into my first house over 30 years ago. It too was in part sun, morning sun at that, and was very productive. The following year I dug a new veggie plot on the southwest side of that house. It got afternoon sun, about five hours, same as here. I had no complaints about the productiveness of that garden. So late last summer and early fall as I was looking for a place to grow veggies, I was confident our semi-sunny side yard would be perfect.

Supposedly tomatoes grown in less than eight hours of direct sun per day aren't as tasty as those grown in the prescribed amount of sun. I've never had any complaints about my tomatoes - they've always been productive and delicious.

So for those who long to grow a few veggies but who, like me, don't have anywhere in their yard that gets the recommended 6-8 hours or more of direct sun, don't be afraid to experiment. Please know that even in zone 5, 4-5 hours of afternoon sun, or even late morning and early afternoon sun is enough to grow a respectable, productive vegetable garden.


  1. My veggie garden also gets maybe 6 hours of sun and while it's slower in producing than sunnier ones, it still produces! I should have added compost to me new bed but was in a hurry to plant--I'm fertilizing a lot instead. I have flowers on my zucchini and pumpkin plants, the beans are winding up the teepee, and I'm waiting (oh so waiting) for flowers on my tomatoes... I do in fact think the garlic is cute--and also learned about the scapes from Gina. I just planted my garlic a while ago, so it's still quite small. Have a good weekend!

  2. I feel for you. I am in the same boat and it is so frustrating! Fortunately some veggies do okay. A good thing for us all.

  3. Hi Monica, fertilizer definitely helps in a less-than-full sun veggie garden.

    Our veggie bed is all compost. Even so, a little organic fertilizer helps rev it up.

    I'm so glad Gina posted about her garlic scapes. I had no idea removing them would help the bulbs grow larger, or how good the scapes would taste. (They smell really good too!)

    Good morning Tina! I'm sure the tomatoes won't get 12 feet tall like they used to in my last garden. That's ok though. I'm just glad to have a spot where I can grow them.

    In spite of warnings I've read that tomatoes in less-than-full sun aren't as tasty, in my previous experience they were delicious. Tomatoes from the store just don't compare. I hope people who don't have full sun anywhere in their yards are encouraged to experiment with growing a few veggies in the sunniest spot they can find.

    It's really nice to work in the garden in the morning before the sun gets over there!

  4. Nice. We have the same situation, always looking for full sun somewhere in our garden. (I think we planted too many trees). So our veggies grow in partial shade also. Nice to hear it works for you.

  5. Your photos are proof that vegetables can grow in a semi-shaded spot, Linda; they are all looking great! I think every gardener faces some kinds of challenge--I am lucky to have full sun for the vegetable garden, but in this heat it also means more watering.

  6. It's fantastic that you're getting such good production! Everything looks delicious!

  7. Hi K&V, it pays to experiment! Some lettuce and other greens grow well even in mostly shade.

    I'm happy to hear from you and Monica that you're having veggie success with some shade too.

    Thanks Rose! So true - all gardeners face challenges of one sort or another. You're lucky to have full sun for your veggies, and I'm lucky in the watering department with less sun on the veggies.

    Thanks Rose! Yum, it is! I'm loving the lettuces and peas, loved the radishes and am looking forward to enjoying the rest over the rest of the summer.

  8. Love your veggie garden, and am soooo jealous of your garlic. I planted some last Fall but one of the local critters dug it up .. bummer!

  9. Awww,

    Can we switch veggie gardens? Mine is in full sun but it comes with a couple of really hungry squirrels. :0)

  10. Just wonderful Linda, theay look great and very yummie. It is so fun to grow your own food isn't it.

    Greetings from Tyra in Vaxholm

  11. Hi Linda, I am so happy to hear that veggies can be grown in less than full sun, not what the standard garden wisdom dictates. Your photos are proof and look delicious. Love those baby peppers and the cuke is perfect! Our sugar snap peas are still producing but are nearing the end and pole beans will replace them. Those are my favorite crop, so easy and plentiful.

  12. Anonymous9:14 PM

    We do everything in semi shade. It would never get tended if I had to be in the hot sun any length of time.

  13. Hi All, it's great hearing from so many people growing vegetables in part sun! It's inspiring, and like you said Donna, shade vegetable gardening has a distinct advantage over gardening in blazing hot sun

  14. Your veggies look pretty good to me. Mine aren't in all day sun either, but they still taste great.

  15. Linda, our veggie garden is more shaded all the time and so far, so good. Our property was once parts of a small woods and we are trying to re-woods it. LOL. What that means is more shade, less sun, but the veggie part of the garden is not all that large anyway, so it's working well for us up to this point. Some of the shaded areas don't grow as large, but they still produce plenty for us. I figure that Mother Nature knows that not everyone is going to have the ideal conditions to grow things, and she makes up for it anyway. (There's my positive thinking for ya!)

    Everything looks so lush and green and wonderful there!

  16. Linda, I have the opposite! The cherry tomatoes look okay but the eggplant and pea foliage are scorched. Your recipe sounds good, I'll try it with the garlic chives scapes!

  17. Great news for those of us with limited sunshine! I find that herbs do better then expected, too! Your garden looks wonderful and if I could just reach in and grab a cuke, I would be all set to fix a salad for dinner. gail

  18. Linda,
    Yay! for you and the veggies. I'm so thrilled you have a vegetable garden again. I'm pretty sure you could grow anything anywhere with your expertise and good blood lines. Those veggies are looking quite hardy and definitely healthy. My garden only gets about 4.5 hours of direct sun but I thought it did well because we are so much 'closer' to the sun. It's good to hear your Z5 garden is managing with less, too.

    Once the temps hit the 90's here and the night temps stayed in the 80's most of my veggies bolted. I'm still getting Black Cherry grape tomatoes and few of the Floradades and Homestead are ripening but not producing any more. The Peppers & Okra are still happy but that's about it.

    It will be time to prepare the beds for the fall garden soon. I'm not sure I'm ready for it. :-0

    Keep us posted... love to see the progress.
    Happy day, Meems

  19. I'm so glad you're publicizing the fact that it is possible to grow food (other than greens) in part shade; yours look great. I've found certain types of foliar feed give me better fruit and flower yield in part shade, as well as doing the dirt fertilizers.

    Thanks for introducing me to garlic scapes! And I was interested to see how you deal with your peas when the weather heats up. Do you save seed? I wonder if selecting them that way would give more heat-tolerant pea variants?

  20. More hours of sun does help with the growing and the ripening but even with restricted sun hours you can still have a wonderful veggie garden. Mine is for the biggest part in full sun for most of the day but I have made 2 new beds that have only 6 hours of sun (early morning and late evening) and they are doing fine too.

    Bon appetite!

  21. Thank you Teresa, I just picked my first cucumber yesterday. . . yum!

    Hi Kylee, it's good to know you're having success with veggies in part sun too!

    Hi Lynn, garlic scapes are very tasty. The younger ones are more tender, so now that I know about removing them, I'll cut them earlier next time. Eggplant. . . yum! I didn't try that this time. I hope yours produces well in spite of the scorched leaves.

    Hey Gail, I've been growing herbs in pots in mostly shade for a while, and thyme and oregano in the shade garden. They all seem to do fine, but the cilantro still bolts pretty fast. I just plant more - I love cilantro.

    I'd love to be able to share some cukes with you - I'm amazed how many baby cukes I have!

    Thanks Meems - I'm thrilled too! I can imagine growing veggies in Florida is probably a lot more work than here. I envy your being able to grow so many veggies in the fall too. I'm sure the intensity of the sun in Florida makes part-sun veggie gardens more productive than they are here.

    Hi Pamona, thanks for the tip on foliar feeding. I'll keep my eye out for an organic foliar fertilizer, or consider fish emulsion or compost tea.

    Hi Yolanda, I agree - I notice things take longer to ripen.

    So far the tomatoes and squash seem to miss more sun the most. It's also been a cool spring and early summer so far, and I'm sure that's a factor too.

    I think it helps that the sun my garden does get is late morning and most of the afternoon, even though it's still only around 5 hours.

  22. Looking good! I think I have no cukes this year. Rain, rain and more rain have kept me from the garden. That and spring fling and vacation. The tomatoes are coming along though. Your veggies look quite robust.

  23. I would hanker to gues my veggie bed gets a little less than 8 hrs and does fine. Yours looks lush! It's your green thumb of course. And garlic scapes! I just got my first CSA and they were in there, what a tasty tidbit.

  24. Thanks Layanee! I picked that first cuke a couple of days ago, with lots more to come!

    Glad you've got some tomatoes in - there's nothing like home-grown maters!

    Hi Rosemarie, it might be part green thumb, part soil - my little raised bed is all compost. This is the first time I've done a veggie like this. Although I've always used compost in my veggie beds, I'd say it's a case of 'more is more' - more compost = more veggies!

  25. I'm glad you wrote this post. I never have figured out how much sun my garden across the street gets, but different parts of it get different amounts. Larry, my husband, cut some limbs off of the pine and other trees to let more sun in a couple weeks ago, but parts of it are shaded more than I thought they would be.

    The sunflowers are quite leggy, so it doesn't look like they are getting enough sun. The squirrels or weather have knocked some of them down, too. Some of the peppers and tomatoes are leggy, too, but are blooming. I spread things out enough that they have different amounts of light. I haven't fertilized, other than putting alfalfa hay on some of the plants.

    The few potatoes I have dug up, after the plants started to die back were pretty small, and there weren't very many. The other plants are looking like they will die back soon, but hopefully, the potatoes are getting bigger.

    I am excited that there is so much space over there, and am looking forward to building up the soil and seeing what all will grow there.

    Now that you mention it, part of my veggie garden is north of our garage, and there is a lot that grows there fine.

    I noticed some garlic scapes that I missed when I was cutting them. It's too late to eat them, but hopefully the garlic will still be big enough to eat.

    Happy gardening!

  26. Hi Sue, some things seem to do better than others. Tomatoes are taking forever to ripen but there are loads of them. I have more cukes than I know what to do with - made some pickles this week - first time I've tried doing that, but it won't be the last. Yum - they're so good already and haven't even had much time to cure.

    I hope you get lots of wonderful produce from your new garden!


Thank you for stopping by! Comments are welcomed, and while I may not always respond here, I'm happy to pay you a visit.

While comments are invited, links to commercial websites are not, and comments containing them will be deleted.

(Note to spammers: Don't bother. Your comments are promptly deleted. Hiding in older posts won't help - they're moderated.)