Home Home & Garden Cool Weather Crops (Shady Areas)

Cool Weather Crops (Shady Areas)

Chances are, your backyard has undergone changes over time. Trees grow, sheds are replaced, and perhaps your previously full-sun vegetable patch is now more like part-sun. Don’t despair! Cool weather crops can be season-long producers in the shadier part of your garden.

Lettuce, peas, and radishes typically bolt or won’t produce once the weather turns hot. However, if your garden patch still gets early morning and late afternoon sun, you can extend the growing season of these salad favorites right through the dog days of summer. For a continuous crop, sow in succession: replace radish seeds as you harvest, plant lettuce seeds every two weeks for a continuous harvest (buttercrunch is the most heat tolerant), and keep pea vines picked clean to encourage production.

If you enjoy cool weather crops but your garden is in full sun all day long, consider grow pots. These are typically made of dark fabric, which holds in the heat during the early and late parts of the growing season. When growing crops that produce underground, such as potatoes and carrots, choose a grow pot style with side flaps or windows. The flaps or windows allow you to see if the crop is ready to harvest. No more guessing or accidentally pulling crops early, and you can harvest on-demand, while the rest of the crop continues to grow.

Grow pots also usually have handles for easy relocation, so they can be placed and moved anywhere in the yard to optimize sun exposure. Make sure that wherever they are placed, the grow pots receive adequate water. Consider placing them on a deck, patio, or right in landscaped beds. Don’t forget to protect whatever is in the grow pot from curious or hungry wildlife! See my May “Gardening Tips” article for suggestions on how to safely and humanely protect your crops.

Applying a little creativity while working with nature means you can get the most out of your gardening efforts, and enjoy healthy and delicious home-grown veggies from spring through fall!

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