Is your Garden Shady? Discover the Success Stories from my Vegepod Shade Trial & Grow Amazing Vegetables in your Shaded Garden this Spring & Summer!

Vegepod Gardening in the Shade

Whether you garden in sunshine or shade, there are plants that will be perfectly suited to growing in your garden – it’s just a case of finding them!  In 2019, my Vegepod was moved from a sunny spot, to a new enclosed, deeply shaded area of my garden.  I am not exaggerating when I say that in its new position my Vegepod truly was shaded – my Vegepod was sandwiched in a tight space, wedged between a tall conifer hedge, a two storey high wall, a tall fence, and an 8ft tall pergola that was smothered with climbing plants – the plants growing in my Vegepod did not receive any direct sunshine whatsoever.

Most of our commonly known edible plants will only succeed in open, bright, and sunny areas; therefore finding crops that thrive in the shade is much trickier.  With this in mind, I ran a Vegepod Trial from spring 2019 until January 2023 to see what edible crops I could grow from seed to maturity inside my Vegepod, in this area of deep shade.  I’ve recently moved house and so this Vegepod Trial has now ended, and I’m sharing the top performing edible plants that I’ve grown in my Vegepod in the shade.  If you’ve got a shaded garden or patio, I hope that the results of this Vegepod Trial will help you discover delicious edible plants to grow in your garden.

Here’s my Vegepod, pictured in the snow on the 24th January 2021. My Vegepod was positioned next to a tall evergreen hedge, behind a tall pergola that’s covered with plants on all sides, with two walls on the other two sides. No direct light reached the vegetables growing inside my Vegepod. The Vegepod’s cover would have also diffused the sunlight before it reached the plants, but the vegetables inside benefitted because the cover prevented flea beetles and other insects eating my plants!
These are some of the plants I’ve grown inside my Vegepod in its new shaded position.

I’m sharing the results of my Shaded Vegepod Trial with you now, as it’s the ideal time to sow a wide range of vegetable seeds.  If you’ve got a small, shaded garden I really hope that the results of my Shaded Vegepod Trial will help you discover edible delights that will thrive in your garden this spring and summer!

A look inside my Vegepod on the 1st August 2023. Pictured are Parcel, Sorrel ‘Belleville’, and Cutting Celery.

Vegepod Compost

My Vegepod was installed on the 10th June 2018.  I run a number of Compost Trials each year, so when I filled my Vegepod I chose a mix of the best performing composts from my Trials:

I chose to use the regular Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost, as I had some of this compost left over from another trial, but I could have used a greater quantity of the Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads (or the Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost) very successfully.

In 2019, I decided to move my Vegepod to a different area in my garden with more challenging growing conditions; as a consequence of this move (and to avoid carrying heavy compost up steps) my Vegepod was emptied and the compost was used as mulch in my garden.  Once my Vegepod was installed in its new shaded site the

Hurrah – I was ready to start growing in my Vegepod again!

In spring 2021, I added two bags of Dalefoot Wool Compost for tomatoes, as a much over the growing media inside my Vegepod.  There is no need to empty the Vegepod every year.  Old, spent compost can be refreshed by adding a small amount of nutrient-rich compost, like Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.  A thin layer over the surface of the compost is all that’s needed.

To see more articles about Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads, please click here.

To see more articles about Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost, please click here.

To see more articles about Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes, please click here.

Regularly Check for Slugs and Snails!

Inside my Vegepod, I sometimes found Garden Snails (Cornu aspersum) sheltering in the sides of my Vegepod. These are easily removed to another part of the garden, but you do need to take the time to look for them.

If you’ve got a Vegepod, once you’re up and running, sowing seeds and growing crops, I’d encourage you to regularly check the sides of your Vegepod for slugs and snails that might be hiding beneath the grid-like moulded plastic edges.  The best way to do this us to sit or crouch down and start checking over on one side of the Vegepod, working your way around; look from compost level and upwards, all around – on all the sides of your Vegepod.

Here’s another Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) that’s sheltering, hidden in plain sight in the outer edges inside my Vegepod.

If you’re interested in discovering easy and effective methods of how to protect your seedlings from slugs and snails, check out the results of my Slug and Snail Trial.

Vegetables to Grow in the Shade

Since my last Vegepod update, I’ve been busy trialling a wide range of plants inside my Vegepod.  In this post, I’m listing the edible plants that I’ve grown most successfully in my Vegepod in the shade to help you find edible plants you can grow successfully in shaded conditions.  NB: Click on the orange text to find out more about each vegetable.

Tozer Seeds Wild Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’

Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ has a hot and peppery flavour and attractive maroon veined leaves. I grew this plant in deep shade; the markings may be more pronounced on older leaves or plants grown in a brighter situation.

Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ is an amazing rocket with a hot peppery flavour and pretty maroon coloured markings on the leaves.  Want to grow your own ‘Dragons Tongue®’ rocket plants?  It’s the ideal time to sow ‘Dragons Tongue®’ rocket seeds!

Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ pictured inside my Vegepod on the 3rd July 2020.

Real Seeds ‘Mild Cultivated Rocket’

Mild Cultivated Rocket seedlings growing away inside my Vegepod, as pictured on the 10th July 2020.
These ‘mild cultivated Rocket’ plants were grown from seeds I purchased from Real Seeds; they’re pictured growing alongside Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’ plants, I’ve grown from seeds I purchased from Chiltern Seeds. I took this picture inside my Vegepod, on the 6th March 2020.

I adore Real Seeds’ Mild Cultivated Rocket!  Despite the fact that this Rocket is happiest growing in a lighter, brighter area, I have grown ‘Mild Cultivated’ Rocket successfully inside my Vegepod in the shade.  However, because the lower light levels places additional stress on the plants, when I allowed my ‘Mild Cultivated’ Rocket plants to produce seed (to avoid needing to buy more seeds) I’ve found that the Rocket plants resulting from these seeds lost their mild and delicate flavour and became very hot and peppery!  If you want to grow this milder-tasting form of Rocket and you’re gardening in a shaded area, I’d advise you to buy seeds rather than try to save your own seeds.

If you want to grow Mild Cultivated Rocket this is an ideal time of year to sow seeds – these plants will be happy growing in either sunshine or shade!

These ‘mild cultivated Rocket’ plants were grown from seeds I purchased from Real Seeds. I took this picture inside my Vegepod, on the 6th March 2020.

Chiltern Seeds Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’

I bought these Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’ seeds from Chiltern Seeds. Pictured on the 6th March 2020.

My Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’ plants would have been happier growing in a brighter, more open position, but despite this they grew inside my shaded Vegepod.  I love eating Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’ raw – it has such a sweet, pleasing flavour with a divine sweetness that for me is reminiscent of peas.

If you’re interested in growing this plant don’t be too hasty to sow seeds; hold off for a little while yet, as the best time to sow Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’ seeds is from the start of May until the end of October.

Chiltern Seeds Texsel Greens

Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’ is a fast-growing and worthwhile vegetable that crops over an extended period. For the longest-lasting, best tasting crops – harvest Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’ leaves regularly – ideally once a week.

I’ve grown Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’ seeds so many times in my Vegepod in the shade.

I bought my Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’ seeds from Chiltern Seeds. I love the garlicky flavour of these easy-to-grow salad leaves.

I’d really encourage you to grow this utterly gorgeous vegetable – it’s the perfect time to sow seeds of Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’!

When vegetables aren’t harvested and are also put under the strain of growing in drought conditions, without water the plants will quickly bolt and go to seed.

Corn Salad ‘Medallion’

These corn salad ‘Medallion’ seeds were from Mr. Fothergill’s. Pictured on the 5th December 2020.

‘Medallion’ corn salad seeds are the perfect choice of vegetable to grow in a shaded spot.  I achieved 100% germination with my corn salad ‘Medallion’ seeds from Mr. Fothergill’s.  Thinking of trying this mild-tasting vegetable?  It’s the ideal time to sow seeds of corn salad ‘Medallion’.

Corn salad ‘Medallion’ growing inside my Vegepod. Pictured on the 5th December 2020.

Parcel

Parcel seedings pictured growing in my Vegepod, on the 15th May 2021.

One ‘Parcel‘ plant provides a large quantity of small leaves with an intense celery flavour.  Just one leaf will impart a strong taste of celery to sandwiches, salads, and other dishes.  Want to grow your own plants?  This is the perfect time to sow Parcel seeds!

Just a couple of Parcel plants will produce a continual supply of leaves through the growing season.

Cutting Celery

Cutting Celery (Apium graveolens).

Cutting Celery is similar to Parcel – you only need one or two of these plants, as the small parsley like leaves are strongly flavoured.  This is a great time to sow Cutting Celery seeds!

Sorrel

‘Belleville’ Sorrel seedlings, pictured growing in my Vegepod, on the 15th May 2021.

I adore sorrel!  Different varieties of sorrel have different flavours.  Some varieties of sorrel look very handsome indeed and display red veined leaves, like sorrel ‘Red Lava’ which you can see growing inside my Vegepod in the image below.

These sorrel seeds can be sown outdoors now.

These Sorrel ‘Red Lava’ leaves are incredibly handsome! These plants thrived inside my Vegepod, despite the shaded conditions.

Landcress

Landcress growing inside my Vegepod, as pictured on the 6th March 2020.

Landcress grew very happily inside my Vegepod and thrived in the shaded conditions.

Landcress tastes exactly like Watercress – it has a hot and spicy flavour.  If you want to grow your own Landcress this is the perfect time to sow seeds.

Greek Cress

This row of Greek Cress is pictured growing inside my Vegepod in July 2023.

I found that my Greek Cress seeds germinated well and the seedlings and plants coped admirably with the challenging growing conditions of intense shade.  If you’re considering growing Greek Cress – now is the perfect time to sow seeds!

Doucette d’Algers, also known as Horn of Plenty

Doucette d’Algers, also known as Horn of Plenty grew well inside my shaded Vegepod.

If you’re looking for something edible and beautiful with flowers that attract bees, butterflies, moths, and other pollinating insects, may I recommend Doucette d’Algers, which is also known as Horn of Plenty.  Horn of Plenty leaves have a mild and delicate flavour with a hint of walnut.

This is Doucette d’Algers/Horn of Plenty in flower. These pretty blooms attract bees and butterflies.

Suttons Seeds Speedy Veg leaf salad, Californian mix

This picture was taken of the plants grown from Suttons Seeds Speedy Veg leaf salad, ‘Californian mix’, on the 9th June 2019.

Suttons Seeds Speedy Veg Leaf Salad ‘Californian Mix’ contains a mix of fast growing salad leaves.  If you want a harvest of delicious salad leaves in a hurry this seed mix is a great choice, as all the varieties that are included in this seed pack are super fast growing salads that will deliver their first harvest of leaves in just a few weeks’ time!

For gardening advice for March, please click here.

For gardening advice for April, please click here.

If you’re interested, you can find all of my articles about my Vegepod, here.

To see all of my Vegetable Trials, please click here.

To see my vegetable plant pages and find information on how to grow a wide range of vegetables, please click here.

To see more articles about edible plants, please click here.

To see all of my plant pages and select your choice to view information on plants for pollinators, container plants, houseplants, orchids, ferns, fruit, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, trees, annuals, daffodils, roses, sweet peas, climbing plants, bulbs, perennials, biennials, hardy plants, and scented plants, please click here.

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