Doesn’t Shade Keep Temperatures Down?
Yes. In extreme conditions shading does reduce temperature. However, many crops are very tolerant of high temperatures and take them in their stride. They relish warmth and sunlight.
Under glass it can of course get hotter than outside. The glass traps the temperature and my fully vented large greenhouses often approached 90F / 32C. That was fine, but if it went much higher then growth would slow down and I had to try to lower the temperature. The easiest was was to use water. Sampling down the pathways between tomato rows could drop the temperature a lot very quickly. Spraying water on crops such as lettuce was not an option however. Put cold water on a hot lettuce leaf and the temperature drop will damage the leaf structure. It’s not due to the myth I often hear about the drops of water acting as magnifying glasses .. that is just a myth. It’s because of the rapid cooling damaging the plant cells.
The way to cool a lettuce crop is to irrigate it early in the morning. The moisture under the plant then slowly evaporates and cools the sir around the plant. The greenhouse can have an air temperature of 100F but around the plant it can be appreciably cooler.
We never shaded our greenhouses or tunnels. The plants needed the light and there were better ways to control temperature.
What Can I Do With A Shady Part Of The Garden?
Don’t condemn a shady area in the garden. They can be a blessing.
In really hot weather they ar somewhere to sit and keep cool.
You can also use shady areas for garden storage. Or a place to locate your compost bins. Or somewhere to put water storage tanks. Shady areas are valuable in a garden.
And if you keep poultry, rabbits, goats or other livestock a shady area is often ideal for their living quarters. They like a bit off shade as much as we do in very hot weather. Just make sure they have access to a bit if sun as well, living in the shade all theme isn’t great.
What Other Gardeners Recommend For Shade
In an article written in 2019 Gardeners’ World recommended the following as the best vegetable crops for shade.
- Swiss chard.
- Salad leaves.
- Broad beans
As they didn’t really define what the meant by shade I didn’t find the article much use. I suspect most gardeners will have questions about how much shade was being referred to. Hence my suggestion that at least 6 hours sunshine was needed by most plants.
My Veg Growing & Shade Conclusions
Plants need light to grow.
Too much shade inhibits growth and should be avoided.
Veg plants prefer good light.
Use shady spots for storage etc, keep veg in as much light as you can.
Tag: Best Vegetable Plants To Grow In the Shade
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Image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_shady_garden_south_of_St_Edmund%27s_churchyard_-geograph.org.uk-_1930972.jpg