Vegtables to plant behind hedges

  • 9 replies
Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« on: July 02, 2008, 06:44:04 PM »
 ??? I have the use of a fairly sunny(but small) garden with a shortish growing season (four months to depend on, with another month availible in good years.) My primary interest in gardening is being able to grow my own vegtables - but the owners of the garden love flowers and other floral decoration. Since they're being very nice to allow me the space, I certaintly don't want to rip out anything already established, and annoy them and lose the opportunity. So, here's the question...

If there's space (of between a foot and two feet) betwix the foundation planting of hedges (I think it's cedar, but I can't swear by it) and the foundation of the house, and this space recieves an abundant amount of partly sunny (as evidenced by the luxurious growth of weeds that I'm constantly having to pull up)  a) could I grow anything there and if so b) vegtables? c)what kind?  The soil is fairly good. Thanks to anyone with any suggestions!

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2008, 04:07:43 PM »
Partly sunny..does that mean it gets say 5 hours of direct sun per day (and the rest of the time shade)? Or does it get say 12 hours?

What's your lattitude?

And more importantly: how much rain does the spot get?

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2008, 06:38:28 PM »
The spot gets almost no rain - but is watered every other day. It's in direct sun for about four hours a day, and then in partial shade for another six or so before the shade moves in. I'm at 49? N

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 03:21:09 PM »
Perhaps I should've asked what area/country you're in instead of your lattitude ;)
Anyway, I'm having a hard time thinking of suitable vegetables.

If the hedge isn't too high, you could try growing something that reaches above the hedge and hence get more sun eventually.

Some bean-species for example can grow quite high. Part of the species produce their own rigid stalks, part have to grow along wires/trellis/sticks. As an experiment I put 3 pre-soaked white beans in the earth in a pot on the shade-side of my apartment. The lack of sun made one of them grow to 2.5 m relatively quickly (in 2 months?) along a wire, and it's even getting small flowers (so, theoretically, also beans), but the lack of sun isn't doing the plant well.
Beans require a long(er) growing season though, but it never hurts to try. If it doesn't bring any harvest, it at least fertilises the soil through N2 fixation. I'd look up info on the cultivars/species that are available locally, or just use dried peas/beans after soaking 12 hours. They need to be sown early in the year.

If the hedge isn't too high, you could grow sunflowers, though they deplete the soil (grow them once per 4 years).

Some berry species like or survive in half-shade, like elderberry (small tree though it doesn't need much space, probably not a good idea next to a wall), gooseberry can survive in partial shade at your lattitude though it needs warmth, black currant also.

Grapes and kiwis could do well, set against the wall (the wall is south-facing, right?), though they take 3-6 years to fruit. Kiwis can grow well in shade, though they need somewhat moist soil year round.

As for more traditional veggies, I don't have direct experience other than white beans, but lettuce/spinach/radish/cucumber is one possibility.
Some herbs prefer shade, especially perennials.
Otherwise google is your friend :)

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2008, 01:57:59 PM »
Have you thought of edible flowers as a compromise?  I've had great luck with nasturtiums and violets in Alaska (lat 58 so not the land of the midnight sun).  In Louisiana I've been able to grow dianthus in partial shade.  I've also had luck with spinach and squash in not quite ideal light conditions.  I've heard chard and broccoli can do well in some shade but I've never tried it.  I hope something works out for you.

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2008, 08:10:10 PM »
Thanks to both of you for your advice. i will certaintly keep your suggestions in mind for next spring!

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 05:05:01 PM »
BTW, as an update: the white beans (Cannelini beans?) have, to my utter surprise, grown some pods, while they get zero direct sun!
Sure, it's only 4 pods (with more coming probably), but growing from a 4 gallon pot which is very overcrowded from 3 miniature walnut trees and 3 bean stalks, I'm surprised. They should do well with plenty of soil and actual sun.

By the way, there are a number of winter vegetables you can experiment with in the shade. ;)

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 02:27:37 PM »
I have considered planting some vegetables in a local park, provided I can find a spot.

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2008, 11:45:13 PM »

I'm in Chicago, USA, and about a week ago I did a Google search for "vegetables that grow in shade." In addition, I wanted something I could plant in late summer for a fall crop that would do OK in partial sun with relatively poor soil. I just tried to find the website I found most helpful, but I can't seem to find it. Below are some other sites that might help...they're pretty similar in their recommendations. My conclusion was that some of the leafy vegetables, such as Swiss chard, might work best for me. Like you, I was also trying to find something that would "blend in" well with flowers, so I thought a colorful chard might look decorative and be good to eat.

GenkiTango 375

Re: Vegtables to plant behind hedges
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2008, 10:52:58 AM »
I'd be looking at chards, spinaches, lettuces, especially the darker-leafed varieties. Plants tend to tell you how much sun they require by having more chlorophyll (ie darker leaves) for lower light requirements.

I;'d probably be subversive enough to try and infiltrate the hedge with climbers like peas, chokos, cucumbers grapes and even passionfruits if your climate can stand it. After all, what else if a hedge but an invitation to climbing food-producers?