Playful touches like vertical pallet gardens, wine bottle edging and a faux fireplace make it clear that the only thing this gardener takes seriously is having fun.
"No fruits and no roots" is Coronado's rule of thumb for choosing edibles that will produce well in shade, but she quickly points out that even root-forming vegetables like beets or radishes will still produce lots of leafy and edible growth.
Many of the vegetables require only two to three hours of direct light, provided by the dappled sun that filters through the overhanging trees. Among her biggest successes in this garden are basil (Ocimum basilicum, annual), celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) and dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea 'Lacinato', annual).
Other good candidates for a shaded vegetable garden include legumes, such as peas (Pisum sativum, annual) and beans (Phaseolus spp); stem veggies, like celery (Apium graveolens, annual) and rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum, zones 2 to 8); and most greens. Bok choy (Brassica rapa chinensis, annual), collard greens (Brassica oleracea species, annual), mustard greens (Brassica juncea, annual), Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris, annual) and arugula (Eruca sativa, annual) will all flourish in shade and provide a veritable salad bar of flavor.
Coronado also recommends incorporating shade-loving perennials and annuals into your shady vegetable garden, such as begonias (Begonia species, zones vary), New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens 'New Guinea', annual), Heuchera (Heuchera cvs, zones 4 to 9) and Jack Frost Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost', zones 3 to 8). Not that vegetables really need much help in the ornamental department, but if you have limited space, it's nice to know you have options.
Though this garden is considered shady, since it receives very little direct light, the tall overhanging trees still let in more filtered light than you would receive in the shadow of a building or an evergreen tree. The point of this ideabook is to show that you don't need a whole lot of sun to grow vegetables, but your own property might be downright gloomy, to say the least.
If your garden still gets too little light for even the most shade-tolerant vegetables, just take away some of the shade. Remove limbs from congested small trees, hire an arborist to remove limbs from larger ones and, if all else fails, consider removing any unhealthy or brittle "trash" trees that might otherwise fall prey to disease or storms. Some trees (such as magnolias) produce much more shade than others and make gardening all but impossible under their dense and forbidding shadow.
"So excited!!! Just took a harvest over to the food pantry. Swiss chard, kale, and 8 cabbages that weighed 15 lbs each. More going over on Sunday. Woot!"
Houzz guides to edible gardens:
What to grow during the cool season
What to grow in summer