easy to grow edibles in shady/moldy climate?

mcaren(8, Va. Beach, VA)April 22, 2013

Hi -- I've not posted in years and might give this gardening thing another go... We've tried organic container/small garden growing on and off for about 7 years with minimal success. Our yard has lots of tree cover and the soil is fairly acidic (tons of azaleas -- they do very well...). Gardenwise, our two successes have been basil (a surprise, but very leafy [leggy, but I can live with that...]), and butternut squash. The squash was a surprise; all of our curbits succumb to what I think is powdery mildew and squash vine borers, but not the butternut -- and it seems to still bear fruit successfully even when the leaves turn whitish/gray with mold... Most other plants barely make it -- they become leggy from lack of sunlight and/or just don't produce much (we've tried potatoes, eggplant, peppers, carrots, and lettuce). Our tomatoes were wilty (Verticillium Wilt?) and not good. We've composting, but even adding compost doesn't seem to improve things when there are so many bug, fungii and shade issues (we've been getting at least 3 generations of squash vine borers in a summer). Are there any other easy growers you can suggest? I've gotten weary of the battle but would like to gather something in a basket :)

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Flowering and fruiting (tomatos, squash) are part of the reproductive process for plants. Thus, they require a lot of energy. Where do plants get energy from? The sun via photosynthesis. So the general answer to your question is "no".
Most guides will tell you 8 hours of sun minimum.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 2:57PM
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I disagree 100% ..there are many edibles you can grow in shade..I live in Florida and am not so familiar with what is available to you in Virginia but mushrooms come to mind! rhubarb? celery? lettuce? blackberry, raspberry, radish, pumpkin, peas, turnips, hops, kiwi..the list of those able to tolerate shade/partial shade and even thrive in shade could go on and on forever..people get hung up on traditional crops..think outside the box :) I remember seeing wild blueberries always growing in the shade in Va..Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Edibles you can grow in shade

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Just occured to me ..if you can grow azalias there and it's nice acidic soil blueberries really would love that..they love acidic leafy fluffy soil..and if there is enough sun for the azalias there should be enough sun for them..down here we do southern highbush or natives ..what types do you do up there..um..rabbiteye? highbush?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:33AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Mint for tea might be easy to grow. As well as nasturiums for color (flowers) and peppery flavor (leaves) in your salads.

We have acid soil and humidity although we also get sun. We put hydrated lime and coral shell in the garden around the plants that aren't fond of acid soil. You could try amending the soil so it isn't as acid.

Small fruited tomatoes might work better. We grow them because of fruit flies, might also work for shade. You could also try putting a bag over the fruit after it's been pollinated but before the squash borers get to it.

Any sort of air movement might help with the powdery mildew. Spacing the plantings further apart might help.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 1:47PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

Muscadine grapes may be an option since they are native and grow in your local woods. They would like some sun but will tolerate shade. They are almost always growing in oak trees.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:08AM
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