Although, I comment on my back garden being a sun trap and loving it; it can sometimes be a problem for plants that like shade or cooler temperatures.
I also have a small section of my yard that is almost constant shade due to brick wall and the shed but I aim to take advantage of this and grow things that I cannot grow elsewhere due to full sun and hot weather.
A couple of types of shade are usually found in the garden; full shade where the soil never gets full sun, this can be caused by a fence or wall and still have ambient sun or can be underneath a dense tree canopy. The canopy usually blocks both the sun and rain and can be a large hindrance to growing anything at all.
Partial shade where the soil has sun either for part of the day – full sun (2-5 hours only in morning or afternoon perhaps) and then full shade; or it can be in shade for the whole day but the sun shines through a thin tree canopy.
Partial shade or full shade with ambient light are the ones to consider growing vegetables. There are plants that will grow in full shade under tree canopies but theses probably not edible.
Plants that don’t require flowers to produce edibles, such as greens or root vegetables are best. Things that bolt in hot weather can enjoy partial shade; allowing them to never get full sun means they will not get as hot and trigger flower production.
If you have a small garden and don’t think you can grow vegetables; don’t feel constrained by the societal strictures that vegetables must be grown in their own beds.
I have just planted out lettuce seedlings in between my fuchsia as this is shaded by the shed (and I ran out of room in the veg patch).
Most herbs can be grown in partial shade as they do not require flowering to be eaten; actually some may benefit from a longer season as they might stay leafy through the hot weather.
Things to keep in mind; anything that does not require pollination of flowers before harvest may grow in partial shade especially perennials such as rosemary, mint and chives.
Root vegetables and vegetables that grow in shade in nature such as celery and potatoes can be planted in gardens with partial shade. Potatoes will definitely do better in full sun but you can get quite a good crop if you have some semi shaded area in your garden.
Plants that do have flowers but don’t mind the cool weather or are very quick to crop may do well in areas of half day sun such as beans and peas, and tomatoes or courgette that are labelled as doing well for a short growing season such as North of America (Minnesota or Oregon) or Russia and Poland.
Another idea for taking advantage of shade is to interplant between larger sunloving plants – tomato, corn and trellised peas and beans can have lettuce and root vegtables that will grow without bolting in the shade of their leaves.
Below are some plants that you might like to try growing in the shadier parts of your garden or interplanted between tall/trellised plants.
Alliums: garlic, leeks, scallions/spring onion.
Greens: Swiss chard, mustard, corn salad, spinaches, sorrel, lettuce, celery, endive watercress, arugula (rocket) and asian greens such as boy choi/choi sum.
Root vegetables: beetroot, parsnips, carrot, radish, rutabaga/turnip, potatoes
Brassica: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, Chinese cabbage/broccoli, kohlrabi.
Herbs: Herbs that will grow in light to partial shade are angelica, basil, catnip, chervil, chives, costmary, garden cress, germander, horseradish, lemon balm, lovage, mint, parsley, rosemary, sweet flag, sweet woodruff, valerian.
With the heatwave we are currently experiencing, you can even think about transplanting some of the mentioned above when the weather gets too hot. I plant Swiss chard and lettuce in the sun until summer where I transfer the larger plants to the shade and grow without bolting for the rest of the summer.
I hope the suggestions above can help you make the most of the shady areas of your garden or at least think about gardening in the shade as it is currently scorching in the garden today.
Have you had success growing edibles in the shady parts of your garden? Any suggestions for things that do best?