Do you want to grow winter vegetables, but are worried about the amount of shade on your garden plot at this time of year?

No worries, I put together this quick guide on how to grow winter vegetables in the shade and explain the tricks to achieve a successful crop, so keep reading!

What are Winter Vegetables?

We need to begin by clarifying winter vegetables will not grow if the ground is frozen or snow is present. 

Sunlight is crucial for plant growth, but many winter vegetables can survive in shady conditions like:

  • Beets, carrots, and potatoes
  • Spinach, chard, and lettuce
  • Garlic, leeks, and scallions
  • Turnips 
  • Rhubarb
  • Cabbage and brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower

Now that you know which crops are ideal for shady winter gardens, let’s learn to grow them successfully.

Tricks to Growing Vegetables in the Shade

Some vegetables do best in the unique microclimate shady spots in your yard provide, and this is where lawn management can be a helpful tool. 

Use shady sections of your yard where grass struggles to grow and turn it into a garden bed for shade-loving winter vegetables.

Garden position

Most areas outdoors receive at least partial shade.

Partially shaded gardens have moderate amounts of shade most of the day, while also receiving dappled or filtered sunlight from above through the tree canopy. 

Winter gardens in tree-shaded areas have the benefit of more sunlight breaking through the trees as the leaves begin to fall, which warms the soil and spurs vegetable growth.

Watering

Winter can bring rain, but it can also be dry. When the soil is dry and then gets cold, it damages the root system of vegetable crops.

To counteract this issue, use the insulating qualities of water to protect the roots of your winter vegetables. Before a freeze, take time to soak the ground while being careful to keep moisture off the foliage. 

Remember that shady areas retain more moisture than areas with full sun exposure, so you may need to water less frequently in general. 

Large trees near your garden bed may deflect adequate amounts of rainfall from reaching your vegetable crop. Water your garden whenever the soil a couple of inches down feels dry to the touch.

Protection

Start your garden with well-textured soil you enhance with nutrient-rich compost material. 

Use a thick layer of mulch to combat drastic temperature swings in the soil, which helps keep your winter veggies growing strong.

If you need to, tent frost blankets over your plants during unusual cold snaps. Make sure you add stakes around the garden area first to keep the material from laying directly on top of plant foliage. 

Let the outer edges of the material fall to the ground and add a bit of soil or lay heavy stones or boards to keep the fabric from blowing away.

Patience

It’s important to note that any vegetable grown in the shade will take longer to reach maturity.

Have patience with your plants, as it may take an extra two or three weeks to harvest winter vegetables you plant in the shade.

Start Planning your Winter Garden

Just as you plan out your lawn care requirements, planning out your winter garden means you are ready to go when planting season arrives.

Now that you know the tricks to grow winter vegetables in the shade, you can plant, harvest, and serve delicious crops to your family and friends that all will enjoy!

 

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