All shade is not equal. Some shady conditions will yield much more produce than others will, while some areas are better left for hostas and moss. Gardeners should be familiar with the different types of shade, but should also keep in mind that measuring how much shade your garden gets isn’t always easy.

3 – 4 hours sun

If your space gets 3 – 4 hours sun, your choice is restricted but there is still a lot you can grow. Good choices include:

Leafy crops

Most leafy crops (and there is a huge choice now  in many seed catalogues) grow well in less sun including

  • chard
  • kale
  • spinach
  • sorrel
  • most Asian leaves, including Chinese cabbage, the mustards, pak choi and mizuna.
  • most salad leaves including lettuce, rocket, winter purslane, land cress, and lambs lettuce.


These herbs are all well suited to less sun:

  • parsley
  • mint
  • chives and garlic chives
  • coriander
  • chervil
  • wild garlic

While the following herbs, traditionally grown in full sun, will grow OK in less. They will still taste good, if not quite as full flavoured as full sun.

  • rosemary
  • dill
  • basil
  • sage
  • thyme
  • bay
  • oregano


Most shoots or microgreens (ie harvested when just a few inches tall) will grow productively in less sun including

  • pea
  • fava bean and broad bean
  • sunflower
  • chickpea
  • sweetcorn
  • wheat
  • buckwheat
  • radish