Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Shade Gardening February 17, 2010

I saw some pretty neat container gardens while I was watching Twin Cities Public Television this past weekend. I think I’ll try some of my Italian kitchen garden in containers. I have mostly shade and that will allow me to move them around the garden to the sunniest locations.

I have some full shade and partial shade areas throughout my yard, and very little full sun left now that my trees have matured. This makes it a challenge to get any vegetables or herbs to grow large enough for harvest during our short growing season.  (Partial shade=less than six hours of sun; full shade=four or less hours of sun.)

It’s always a challenge finding shade plants at the typical retail outlets in my area.  Here’s one of my partial shade areas where my hosta and bergenia thrive well.

hosta, bergenia bed

hosta, bergenia

The University of Minnesota Extension office has great information about Gardening in the Shade.  This article offers some soil tips and plants of all types that love shade including annuals, bulbs, perennials, and even herbs and vegetables. Mint especially loves the shade, but be careful – it likes to take over. This is probably one herb that you’ll want to keep in a pot.

The vegetables that will do well in partial shade are the ones grown for their leaves rather than fruit. These include anything in the lettuce family, as well as kale, chard and mustard greens. I think I might have to start cooking with more greens since I have lots of partial shade. 😉  I do know that chives also thrive in shade – I have a wonderful bed of garlic chive that is in mostly full shade. I use it often in my kitchen.

I really can’t wait for spring…

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