You can grow many edibles in part sun. It took me years to figure this out -as a new gardener, I devoured the articles in gardening magazines and diligently followed whatever the experts said. I would read about heirloom lettuce or how to grow beans, and in my imagination, I was already cutting “claret-splashed, bright green” lettuce leaves and serving tender steamed heirloom green beans. My fantasies burst with the inevitable words: “needs full sun.” The sunniest part of our yard gets direct sun from noon to 3 p.m., well short of the six hours of sunlight called full sun.
|The woodland vegetable garden|
|Cherry tomatoes, planted last week.|
Probably the biggest surprise was that cherry tomatoes do quite well in part sun in our North Carolina garden. We’ve grown “Sun Gold” and “Sweet Million,” both of which produced so prolifically that we had extras to give to neighbors. Last year I tried Roma tomatoes, which ripened into several batches of tomato sauce.
|Free bamboo makes nice tepees for pole beans.|
Greens thrive in part sun in our Zone 7B garden. Swiss chard has become my favorite green. It’s beautiful, with its bright red, yellow or orange stems and survives both summer heat and winter cold. If you cut only the largest leaves, it will produce for months. We plant collards and kale in the fall. Although they stop growing during the shortest days, they survive brief periods of snow cover and are ready for harvest by March. I almost forgot the lettuce - I think it may prefer part shade in the South.
One thing I know: I’m having a lot more fun as a gardener (and eating better!) since I started experimenting with the vegetable garden.