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Most gardening advice recommends growing fruit and veg in a sunny position but many crops will tolerate some shade, as Benedict Vanheems explains

Most of the things we lovingly grow prefer full sunshine. You read the same advice time and again: ‘Grow it in a sunny, open spot in rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil’. I think those words apply to 90% of what we grow!

So the question arises: What can be done about those shady corners or, trickier still, what can you grow if your entire garden lurks in the shade? My last garden was just that sort of garden – long and narrow, it was heavily shaded by a fence on one side, while the bottom half was overshadowed by a large tree in the neighbour’s garden. But I love a challenge and, despite the limitations, I managed to produce more-than-respectable harvests of fresh, garden-grown goodness.


There are many degrees of shade, from partially shaded for a few hours a day, to deep, dark shade all of the day.That area you call shade probably still gets some sunshine for at least an hour or two a day. Look closely at your garden on a sunny day to piece together a shade map, showing which areas of the garden are in shade at what time of day. You may be surprised that some areas do indeed get some direct sunshine, perhaps first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. Either way, it gives you something to work with!

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In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Offers & giveaways worth £2672 , including tickets to Blenheim Palace & Gardens - Runner beans - Hanging baskets - Gutter gardens - Be a blueberry smoothie with advice from our fruit expert - Plug those gaps with our young plant buyer's guide - Yes you can! Pick health-boosting harvests in just 4 weeks - Shady characyers Vag that loves the dark side - Save 10% on products - 6 great recipes fermenting masterclass -Spinach made simple