In the shade

You don’t have much, if any, say in how tall the buildings are or where your neighbour’s fence is. Fortunately, there are still edibles that will do well in shady conditions. Be aware that there is a lot of difference between the sun in the winter and the summer. In summer the sun is higher so it will reach much more of your garden. Shade is something you can only discover if you watch your garden. You can then make a note of what has deep shade (the sun’s rays don’t reach it even at the summer solstice), what has part shade and what has full sun.

  • Deep shade edibles include mint, hostas (apparently all are edible but not all are tasty), wild garlic and Caucasian spinach
  • Runner beans, Good king henry, swiss chard, brassicas (cabbage and kale things), winter and Siberian purslane, violets, Chinese chives, watercress, wild rocket, Tummel berries (small strawberries), wild strawberries are good with partial shade
  • Beetroots, turnips, carrots, Egyptian walking onions and blackberries will tolerate some shade but grow better with more sun.
The base of this Caucasian spinach will only ever see sun around late June

Runner beans and blackberries are great in this instance as they will get more sun as they get taller and sometimes you can see an explosion of growth as they reach this point. Some of the leafy greens do better with some shade because with too much sun exposure (and insufficient water) they can bolt (go to seed prematurely).