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What plants will grow with shade?

725 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ilikethedesert
I have two good sized gardens that are shaded a good part of the day by huge trees. Can't move the trees and can't move the gardens. Anyone have ideas for organic veggies that don't need tons of sun? They get some, just not a lot. Our tomatoes are always unhappy. We are in CT if that makes a difference. Thanks!
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Peas, I'm pretty sure, lettuce, maybe beets, radishes? I'm not 100% sure about any of these.
I've managed to grow potatos fairly well in the shade.
I did have good luck with lettuce, but not radishes. Potatoes didn't work for me either. Maybe I need to test the soil!
Thank you!
I was going to suggest lettuces or ornamental cabbages. Maybe carrots.

I think I'd buy some nice containers (we've had awesome yields with, put them somewhere sunny, and plant the gardens with bleeding heart, hostas, ferns and lily of the valley.
: most veggies won't dig limited sun. Moving the veggies to the sun sounds like the best plan.
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You know- that's a really good idea! I'm so driven to have veggies, that I hadn't considered planting other stuff. Our deck is pretty sunny. I bet tomatos would grow well there.

I love the Moonpots on your website! Great idea.
Squash, pumpkins, things like that will grow with limited sun
What are the trees? Root competition can be as big a deal as shade, depending on what the trees are, and may make containers better for veggies.
I'm pretty sure the gardens are far enough away from the trees. They are pine and sugar maple. How far can those roots go?
The root zone is generally larger than the drip zone, meaning the soil that is directly below the widest branches. Maples are shallow-rooted, and notorious for keeping things from growing beneath them. Oaks are deep-rooted and much easier to garden close to, for instance. I have a big tulip tree that is shallow-rooted and I found roots more than thirty feet away, though I am not worried that far away as there are fewer. I can't remember how pines root.

Sugar maples are such beautiful trees, and the best of all the maples, for sure.

If the gardens are relatively far away, how much of the day are they even getting shade? Even a big pine is narrow at top, so it makes less shade than a spreading tree. Five hours of sun should be okay for many veggies, though indeed tomatoes/peppers/potatoes are definitely sun and heat lovers. (Is sun angle a factor in north, making longer shadows?)

Maybe the shade isn't what causes you to have difficulty? You might have enough sun but roots or even something else going on?
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Wow! You are knowledgable! I don't think the pine roots are a factor, but I do occassionally dig up a skinny root in the upper garden. The closest maples are probably 15 feet away. Our property is kind of in a valley- or ditch as dh likes to call it. We get a lot of shade from the trees. The pines are planted in a row all along one edge of the property and are probably 60 feet tall. They're huge, beautiful trees. The oaks are opposite and are very old and tall as well. Once they leaf out, the only sun the gardens get is when the sun is straight above.
I'm going to send some soil to the soil testing place in New Haven. I'm sure it's needs nitrogen. My neighbor is an organic farmer and is bringing me some coposted soil later, so the soil should be pretty good. Except for those roots~
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