One of the trickiest things about growing your own food is sometimes the space you haven’t isn’t ideal. One scenario that doesn’t have to be a problem is when your yard is too shady to grow a traditional vegetable garden. Just because you have a shade garden doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own food! Here are 38 edible or useful plants that you can grow even in the shade!
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Plants That Grow in a Full Shade Garden
- Ramps: Ramps are wild leeks, and are a relative of garlic and onions. You can eat the greens or the bulbs. They will come back year after year once the patch has time to establish itself.
- Spring Beauties: This spring flower grows tubers that you can eat like a potato. Keep your shade garden bed going by replanting the smallest tubers to come back the next spring.
- Toothwort: These pretty white flowers are a relative of the mustard family. Both the roots and leaves are edible.
- Foam Flower: This pretty groundcover will spread to fill in spaces and also attracts beneficial insects.
- Licorice Fern: As suggested by the name, the rhizomes taste like licorice and it also has herbal and medicinal benefits.
- Great Solomon’s Seal: Once a patch is established, you can eat the new shoots just like asparagus.
- Ostrich Fern: Boil or steam the fiddleheads of the ostrich fern for a shade garden grown veggie.
- Comfrey: Comfrey can sometimes be aggressive in full sun, but it grows in a shade garden at a much slower pace. It’s leaves make a great fertilizer.
- Hog Peanut: The Hog Peanut is a nitrogen fixer that also produces edible seeds and roots.
- Wild Ginger: This plant makes a great ground cover and also has edible roots.
- Galax: Galax has atractive heart shaped leaves and has medicinal uses.
- Creeping Raspberry: This one is actually a relative of the rose family, and produces a small edible fruit in the fall.
Plants That Grow In A Part Shade Garden
- Wild Garlic: This chive relative can be used like (Surprise!) garlic.
- Wild Onion: Wild onions are pretty, as well as delicious.
- Groundnut: These shade garden legumes grow tubers that are good in soups and stews.
- Sea Beet: Eat the leaves of this distant beet relative.
- Prostrate Ceanothus: Don’t eat this one, but do plant this groundcover for the bees.
- Good King Henry: Eat the leaves like spinach, or eat the shoots like aspargus.
- Chicory: The roots of chicory can be used to make a substitute for coffee.
- Sea Kale: Every part of this cabbage relative is edible.
- Horsetails: The young shoots of horsetails are edible, and later the stalks can be used medicinally.
- Marilyn’s Salad Mint: This mint relative is actually a salad green!
- Mushrooms: You can grow your own edible mushrooms in a shady garden on mulch or logs.
- Miner’s Lettuce: Instead of foraging for this superfood, grow your own!
- Sweet Cecily: These delicate flowers are just one of the many parts of the plant that are edible.
- Watercress: Watercress sandwich anyone?
- Mountain Sorrel: These sorrel leaves are super high in vitamin c.
- Mountain Mints: These pretty flowers attract beneficial insects and make a great seasoning.
- Dandelion: Did you know every single part of the dandelion is edible? Stop poisoning it and start eating it instead!
- Creeping Blueberry: This evergreen ground cover also produces an edible fruit.
- Alexanders: Pollinators love it’s flowers and every part of the plant is edible.
- Pawpaw: The pawpaw is an understory fruit tree that’s native to North America.
- Ginseng: Use ginseng roots for multiple health benefits!
- Goldenseal: This useful root has many medicinal benefits.
- Hardy Kiwi: Need a vine in a shady spot? Try the hardy kiwi.
- Currants: This easy to grow shrub produces edible berries for snacking, jams, and baking.
- Gooseberries: Gooseberries are related to currants and the berries are just as versatile.
- Most salad greens: Try growing your traditional salad greens such as spinach and lettuces in your shade garden. Most of them are more than happy to oblige!
You don’t need to have the perfect space to garden. All you need is the perfect plants for your space!
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