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Shade Tolerant Edibles

Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
I see there was some discussion before about this, but thought it would be good to see if we should flesh out a list of edibles that will grow in shade. Why? I think it would be most helpful for people who live in cities especially if the only space they have to grow anything is indoors. Of course, I'm talking in the shade, not in the dark.

I'll start off the list with these:

Annual Lettuces
Endive
Chard
Mints
Sorrel
Ginger
Fiddleheads of Pako Ferns, High Climbing Ferns, Swamp Ferns
Spinach
Beets
Akebia a.k.a. Chocolate Vine (fruit)
Scallions
Pawpaw
Blueberries
Actinidia (fruit)
Violas
Mushrooms
Strawberries?

What could we add to this list?

Once it seems like we've gottten the list as long as we can, I'll post a chart of them all with some columns like amount of shade, growth habit, edible part, raw or cooked.

Cool? 
                            


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 79
asparagus
cucumber
blackberries
raspberries
basillycum

also, its important to note what is the climate and other condititions when you speak about this. for example, tomatoes like sun but in very hot summers sun can kill them, so its better to grow several plants close together without sideshooting, like this they form a bush and provide little bit shade for each other....
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
Climate will havea lot to do with it as well. Can't imagine growing cucumbers or tomatoes here in the shade

My favs are parsely and miners lettuce.
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 151
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
American Persimmon
Bunya Bunya
Ginkgo
Service Tree
Blackhaw
California Hazelnut
Blue Banana Bean
Chokeberry
Currant
Elaeagnus X ebbingei
Evergreen Huckleberry
Gooseberry
Goumi
Honeyberry
Oregon Grape
Red Huckleberry
Salal
Salmonberry
Serviceberry
Arctic Beauty Kiwi
Himalayan Damarru
Japanese Wineberry
Magnolia Vine
Sausage Vine
Stauntonia
Bear's Breech
Comfrey (for fertilizer)
Japanese Coltsfoot
Miner's Lettuce
Nettles
Ramps
Violet
Waterleaf
California Bay Laurel
Garlic Mustard
Sweet Woodruff
Wild Ginger
Alpine Strawbeny
Bunchberry
Emerald Creeper
Himalayan Bramble
Chinese privet
Devil's club
English laurel
Black raspberry
Ginsing
Mitsuba
Siberian or Pink purslane
Sweet cicely
Tarragon
Watercress
Linden
Blackberry
Plum yew
Flowering quince
Goji berry
dwarf chestnut
Beech
Mountain pepper
Blue or black elder
New Zealand flax
Creeping dogwood
Wintergreen
Nepalese raspberry (very shade tolerant)
Creeping bramble
Chinese bramble
Ground elder
Wild garlic
Wild angelica
Columbine
King's spear
Lady's smock
Good King Henry
Golden Saxifrage
Mock strawberry
Sweet woodruff
Aleroot
Hosta (yes, young leaves are edible)
Mallows
Lemon balm
Plantain
Solomon's seal
False Solomon's seal
Lesser switchwort
Violet
Sweet coltsfoot
Primrose
Rhubarb
Garlic mustard
Hog peanut
burdock
land cress
calendula
rampion
Hedge mustard
Black lovage
Groundnut
Sweet tea vine
caucasian spinach
Old Man's beard


Excuse me if I have repeated anything.  I am pretty sure these are all edible, in one way or another, but I know for a fact they are all useful at least.  By the way, I don't think Akebia belongs on your list.  I does appreciate
good light.


Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
Things I didn't see yet -

wasabi
sprouts
mushrooms
mint
                            


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 79
also, i dont think is good idea to put all those plants into one pile - there is plants that normaly grow in sun, but can tolerate some shade, there is those that require shade since direct sun can harm them, like asparagus or ginger (usualy plants from more hot climates or tropics, all growing in sublevels of forests and bushes), and in the end there is fungi, that requere shade for most of the day.....
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
I planted Akebia in a pretty shady spot after seeing info that it could do well there.  It grew pretty impressively last season but hasn't really started growing again as we only just got into spring.  I expect it'll do well though.


Please set your climate and location to display
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
NZ flax isn't edible but is medicinal and useful for fibre. I think some places would have trouble getting kiwifruit to ripen in the shade. Likewise some of the other fruits. Where I live blackberry won't fruit if in full shade.
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
pebble: Agreed.  I think it is quite dependent on the climate.

In my mediterranean climate, many things that are said to need full sun will actually do better in a little shade.  And I guess things which are supposed to like a little shade might like more shade.

The nature of the shade is probably relevant too.  Light shade for all of the day, or full shade for half the day and full sun for the other half?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic_efficiency
Photosynthesis by D.O.Hall & K.K.Rao says that photosynthesis increases linearly up to about 10,000 lux or ~100 watts/square meter before beginning to exhibit saturation effects. Thus, most plants can only utilize ~10% of full mid-day sunlight intensity. This dramatically reduces average achieved photosynthetic efficiency in fields compared to peak laboratory results.
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
pebble wrote:
Climate will havea lot to do with it as well. Can't imagine growing cucumbers or tomatoes here in the shade


Me neither. Cucumbers don't do particularly well in shade in my experience. Of course, many sun loving veggies need some protection for full sun all day in the hottest part of the year in many places, but that's not the same as being shade tolerant or thriving in the shade.

What I have in mind is...

If a plant can get by with no more than 3 hours of direct sunlight although it like more, it's shade tolerant. If it can get by without any direct sunlight its a shade plant.
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
hvala wrote:
also, i dont think is good idea to put all those plants into one pile - there is plants that normaly grow in sun, but can tolerate some shade,


The final chart will show which are shade tolerant and which require shade.
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
pebble wrote:
NZ flax isn't edible but is medicinal and useful for fibre.


So that we don't try to bit off too much at one time, I wanted to focus on edibles for this list as that would be the most immediately useful to people. It would be a good idea to maybe do another chart of medicinals and fibre plants. Wow! We could end up with a pretty large number of choices for the different needs (food, medicine, fibre, fuel) for people who must garden in the shade. That would be so awesome!
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
BenjaminBurchall wrote:
The final chart will show which are shade tolerant and which require shade.


Good idea.  The shade tolerant ones I imagine are those which would need a warmer climate to work in shade.  Those requiring shade would probably work anywhere in shade.
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3982
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  84
Some of my favourite herbs prefer semi-shade: chervil, coriander and Vietnamese mint (actually the latter's a tough customer and is a worthy opponent for the actual mint).
Rhubarb's happy anywhere if it gets plenty of manure and water.
                            


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 79
Cucumbers don't do particularly well in shade in my experience


all plants that dont have axis of growth, and need support of other plants to grow - grapes, cucurbitas, asparagus, cucumbers, actinidia, tomatoes (in natural conditions), peas, some beans) just by fact that need support develop themselves to tolerate more or less shade, because usualy they are in shade of plants they use as support.....
this is theory, but in practice many cultivars of tomatoes and cucumbers for example, and exspecially grapes,  are sellectionized to conditions with much more sunlight... because more sun means more sugar in fruit.... grapes are not form mediterranean originally but since they dont depend on rain at all, in mediterranean climate they give much better quality of fruit...
William James
volunteer

Joined: Sep 22, 2010
Posts: 789
Location: Northern Italy
    
  20
My own experience so far says, stay away from big things (pumpkins), stay away from any annual that fruits (tomatoes, peppers, etc), and stick to small leafy things and perennials (berries). Next year we're going deeper into shade plants, should have known we were in shade 2 years ago. In any case, most of these I have yet to test.

partial shade-tolerant vegetables
Arugala
Rutabagas
Beets
Salad Burnet
Broccoli (Can't testify for this one, but I'd say it wouldn't get very big)
Salsify
Brussels sprouts (Mine did poorly)
cabbage (Mine did poorly)
Cauliflower (Can't testify for this one, but I'd say it wouldn't get very big)
Summer Squash
Celery
Turnips
Angelica
Kale
Borage
Kohlrabi
Caraway
Leeks
Coriander
Parsnips
Potatoes (Didn't do well for me in the shade)
Tarrgon
Pumpkins (Didn't do well for me in the shade, unless you like small pumpkins)
Thyme
Radish

Other noteworthy ones:
mustard greens
pak choi
cardamom
peas
bush beans
currants
gooseberry
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
William wrote:



I forgot about salad burnet. Yum!
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
We've already got a good list of plants going. Tomorrow I'll start plugging them into a spreadsheet.

Keep 'em coming! 
John Saltveit
volunteer

Joined: May 09, 2010
Posts: 955
    
  25
Pie cherries.
Some people here plant Japanese plums in shade because in sun, they will overproduce and break limbs. 
Blackberries.
John S
PDX OR
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
We should add to the wiki once we all agree.


permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
Rob S. aka Blitz wrote:
We should add to the wiki once we all agree.


What wiki?
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
I still think the list needs to be sorted by climate, and kinds of shade - that way it will be more useful (otherwise people will still have to research and sort themselves).
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
Wiki found here:
http://www.permies.com/permaculture

Info for posting found here:
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/10008_0/tinkering-with-this-site/permies-wiki-your-help-is-appreciated

Was being spearheaded by Saskia who seems to have disappeared in recent weeks.  But it's really for everyone to contribute to and utilise.

I agree with pebble that more climate specific information would be useful. That could be added where it is known.  We could put an initial list together then ask people on this forum for experience in their climate to flesh out the details.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I'm especially interested to know if there are any edibles which are tolerant of dry shade.


Idle dreamer

Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
How about leeks, Ludi?  They might grow slowly, but I almost never water mine, and they do fine.  If you get the kind which spread, you can pull out the pups around the mature plants in autumn and re-plant them out too.

Borage would be fine for dry shade too, but only the flowers are edible as far as I know.
ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 588
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I'm especially interested to know if there are any edibles which are tolerant of dry shade.


Cilantro/coriander seems to tolerate just about anything thrown at it.


Sometimes the answer is not to cross an old bridge, nor to burn it, but to build a better bridge.
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
pebble wrote:
I still think the list needs to be sorted by climate, and kinds of shade - that way it will be more useful (otherwise people will still have to research and sort themselves).


Sounds like you missed what I said about that above.   
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
I saw the bits about shades, but not about climate

A plant that can tolerate all day shade in one climate isn't going to tolerate it in another. And it's not just hot vs dry, moisture comes into it and whether it's hot all year or summer hot, winter cold etc.

To stop that from being overly complicated I think you could divide between tropical/subtropical and temperate, and then between max/min average temperatures. But people that live in colder climates than me might have different ideas.

I live in a hot summer, cold winter, temperate climate (but with more intense UV than many other places that are hotter). I can grow tomatoes outside here, but I doubt they would do well in the shade, likewise cukes. I'm guessing the people who can grow them in the shade have higher temperatures across the season than I do, and probably across the day/night. To me tomatoes want heat, whereas I grow leafy greens in the shade because they want protection from the intensity of the sun in the summer.


The other factors I've been thinking about are summer vs winter vs shoulder season sun (esp for ripening), whether there is early morning sun or not (early morning sun here is a limit because the sudden thaw of frosts is a problem), and whether the plant is in full shade but lots of light (behind a wall) or in full shade but low light (in a forest/under other plants).
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
pebble wrote:
I saw the bits about shades, but not about climate

A plant that can tolerate all day shade in one climate isn't going to tolerate it in another. And it's not just hot vs dry, moisture comes into it and whether it's hot all year or summer hot, winter cold etc.

To stop that from being overly complicated I think you could divide between tropical/subtropical and temperate, and then between max/min average temperatures. But people that live in colder climates than me might have different ideas.

I live in a hot summer, cold winter, temperate climate (but with more intense UV than many other places that are hotter). I can grow tomatoes outside here, but I doubt they would do well in the shade, likewise cukes. I'm guessing the people who can grow them in the shade have higher temperatures across the season than I do, and probably across the day/night. To me tomatoes want heat, whereas I grow leafy greens in the shade because they want protection from the intensity of the sun in the summer.


The other factors I've been thinking about are summer vs winter vs shoulder season sun (esp for ripening), whether there is early morning sun or not (early morning sun here is a limit because the sudden thaw of frosts is a problem), and whether the plant is in full shade but lots of light (behind a wall) or in full shade but low light (in a forest/under other plants).


Got it covered.
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
)
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
Ludi, just came across another one for dry shade which I recall was mentioned in Martin Crawford's book - Rubus tricolor.  It is a creeping groundcover raspberry.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
ronie wrote:


Cilantro/coriander seems to tolerate just about anything thrown at it.


Not in my climate.  Here it's very picky. 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Hugh H. wrote:
Ludi, just came across another one for dry shade which I recall was mentioned in Martin Crawford's book - Rubus tricolor.  It is a creeping groundcover raspberry.


Thanks, I'll look into it. 

Hmm, looking into it, doesn't seem to be a reliable fruiter....  http://www.forestfarm.com/product.php?id=4072

ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 588
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Not in my climate.  Here it's very picky. 


I have a spot against a south wall (white wall) that I use mainly for winter cold frame. Cilantro made it through the cold one winter and then continued into the hot weather Someone has to water the plants in this spot when I'm at work. So someone forgot to water when I was away and all the other plants died in the dry heat, but the cilantro seemed to thrive.

This year was so hot that all the rules seem to have changed in the garden. I feel for you folks in TX and OK... I hope and pray that you get some better weather.
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
Ludi: PFAF says they can fruit quite well.  I think your inference from the text on the site you linked to is a fairly weak indicator of fruiting potential.  Even if it is variable depending on the season, this may still be a useful plant in building a resilient food source.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+tricolor
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Thanks!  It was the flowers "sometimes" being followed by fruit that made me go "hmm." 
Hugh Hawk


Joined: Aug 21, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
Yeah.  Sometimes you just have to try it in your situation to see what will happen.  Maybe 50% chance it will fail but that's life when you are on the cutting edge
Paula Edwards


Joined: Oct 06, 2010
Posts: 411
Benjamin, how do you want to organize your list? Maybe the lattitude matters more than the climate. I.e we're in cool climate, because we're high, but we still get lots of sun, actually the same amount of sun than 100 km further and this is a completely different. Climate names aren't very exact either. I would maybe make 5 or so different latitude zones, i.e 0° to 15° 15° to 30° etc.
In the subtropics I actually had my whole vegetable garden in shade even the tomatoes and this went well. There could be as well three shade zones, like deep shade (from a house), shade (dense trees) , dabbled shade. But hours of direct sunlight matter as well.
An unstructured list is very difficult to read and you may organize the stuff around plant families. Alliums for example tend all to need sun.

Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
ediblecities wrote:
Benjamin, how do you want to organize your list?


I think I'd prefer to simply put the chart together and share it. Then people can determine if they find it useful. 100 different people looking at the same chart can come back with 50 different opinions about what it should be like. Once I put it out there, if others want to add their effort to making it even better, that will be great.  What I have in mind will probably be a great jumping off point.
Benjamin Burchall


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Atlanta, GA
Any additions that haven't been mentioned already?
 
 
subject: Shade Tolerant Edibles
 
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