What vegetables and fruits will grow in an area that only gets three to five hours of sunlight a day?


I have an area of approximately 120 square feet that only gets about 3-5 hours of full sunlight a day. Are there any veggies or fruits that will grow in this area? 


Jonathan Foster, Special Project Assistant 

Ah, the vegetable-loving shade gardener. I struggle with this particular issue in parts of my own vegetable garden, as I’m blessed/cursed with a number of nearby maples and oaks.

In general, as you can read in this excellent piece from Cornell Univ’s School of Integrative Plant Science, you are working with the bare minimum for vegetables at 3-5 hours per day. That said, you can absolutely plant leafy crops like lettuce, spinach, chard, and hearty greens, and get very satisfactory harvests. You *might* be able to get some root crops going, depending on how close you are to the 5 hour mark vs the 3. I recommend testing it with some radishes, which are very quick to grow and inexpensive to plant.

Anything that produces fruit for its primary crop (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, etc.) needs a full blast of direct daily sunshine in the 8+ hour range to be successful. Making fruit is one of the most energetically expensive things a plant does in its lifetime, so planting these crops in shadier spots will be a waste of time and money.