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My First Garden in a mostly shaded area...

I finally got designated an area for gardening in my family's apartment building area.

I live in a coastal suburb of Athens, Greece- so as you probably know, the climate is very hot in the summer and we have mild winters.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the area is very shady. I'm not sure if this matters since the climate is mild and it gets indirect light...

There is construction going on in the house so we will probably start planting in September and its still warm but not as scorching hot as August.

Any suggestions? My aunt thinks I should put an apricot tree.

Thanks in advance!! Im very excited about my first garden. :)

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  1. Lettuces do really well in partial shade, they take longer to grow but are less likely to bolt. Speaking from experience fruit trees are problematic in shady areas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockfish42

      Thanks! Yes I was thinking lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, beets?

      Should I just give up on growing any fruit? What about herbs?

    2. I was just looking online and it looks like mint, sage, dill, oregano, and some types of thyme can thrive in shade.

      What about nut trees?

      Should I try berries?

      3 Replies
      1. re: eviemichael

        Berries might work, the herbs you listed should be fine. Rhubarb and beets are supposedly shade tolerant.

        1. re: eviemichael

          I have a nectarine and a peach tree and an apple tree in partial shade (maybe 4 or 5 hours sun/day in summer) that do pretty well.

          1. re: eviemichael

            My sage is thriving in the shade (in a climate with hot summers) and if I can grow something successfully, anyone can...the greek oregano next to it is doing pretty well also.

          2. My parsley does very well in partial shade. Lemon balm and anise hyssop can also take a lot of shade. Pansies or violas do well in shade and make a great addition to many dishes.

            1 Reply
            1. I have a lot of shade in my "container" garden on my deck. But I can grow tomato's, red and green peppers, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil and chives really well. Hope that helps.

              5 Replies
              1. re: boyzoma

                I thought tomatoes and peppers needed lots of sun?

                1. re: eviemichael

                  They do! While they will grow something, they won't be all they can be without maximum sun.

                2. re: boyzoma

                  really? What zone are you in? what are you doing differently?

                  I have 5 large containers each with either tomatillos or tomatoes... right now I am carting those bad boys to the full sun part of my property - my front lawn unfortunately... the containers are getting so heavy and I would like to relocate them to the backyard where we have maybe 2-3 hours of sun tops but I can't bear to see them whither away after all that work.

                  1. re: Apple

                    Don't do it! The tomatoes and tomatillos will suffer if they don't get all the sun they can get. What do you mean you are carting them? Do you move them daily or something?

                    1. re: Jemon

                      yes, i have to move them daily as i don't want to leave them on our front lawn. we live in the city and while they remain undisturbed during the day, i fear they will be messed with in the cover of night. It was easy when they were seedlings... but now it won't be long before they outgrow the cages.

                      I should have purchased planted cherry type tomatoes instead I have black zebras.

                      In my backgarden where I get less sun, I am growing lettuces, cress, radishes, bush beans, and swiss chard.

                3. I have a shaded garden area (about 4 hours sun a day) that I use mostly for lettuce, basil, asian vegetables, peas, cress, kale, garlic, broccoli, herbs and growing shrub seedlings. But cherry and grape tomatoes (and a few others), pole beans, and small cucumbers do suprisingly well here as well. I have moved most of my brussel sprouts, squash and bush beans to an area with at least 6 hours sun a day in summer, and my other tomatoes, cabbage and peppers to self-watering containers I put on the edge of my driveway to get more sun. (Do you have a balcony with sun? Containers might do well there.) Fruit trees generally need sun, but my son (in another state) has some apple trees in partially shaded locations that seem to do well.

                  1. I have a similar situation, Mediterranean climate in South Africa, maybe 2 hrs of dappled sun a day in summer.

                    I planted a little bit of a lot of things my first summer, and from that I got a good idea of what would and wouldn't grow.

                    Generally things with big fruit (melons, large tomatoes) need at least 6 hrs full sun. While I have got some fruit from those in shade, it's not really worth the space for three tomatoes! Other things will tolerate shade, but will grow more slowly (consider putting in seedlings rather than seeds for a head start) and will yield less.

                    And it's also worth asking people in your area with shade gardens which VARIETIES do well with less sun. Not all green beans, for example, are created equal in terms of yield in shade, although I've had a lot of fun growing about six varieties to work out what does best in my garden!

                    I think with a shade garden it's doubly important to make sure your soil is good and rich.

                    Things I will be planting again this summer:
                    lettuces
                    green beans
                    peas (can't grow these in full sun in summer here, actually a winter crop for me, but in the shade they do not do too badly)
                    rocket
                    mint
                    radishes
                    cilantro/coriander
                    runner beans (this surprised me, but they are pretty hardy)
                    nasturtiums (pretty AND edible and shade-friendly)

                    Chard would do well too, but I just don't eat it in the summer months
                    And while zucchini really do need sun to fruit, if you want them for their blossoms you might get enough for them to be worth the space.