Suggestions for vegetables that can tolerate full shade

I have some space under the open stairs, it is now use for ivies and ferns. I’m wondering if there are any low light edibles exist that I can try to grow there. It might be able to get a beam of sunlight from time to time between the trees of my neighbor in summer and no direct sunlight in winter. I think it’s too dark for lettuces.



This article may be helpful, although how well the suggestions might do in full shade is a tricky question. If theyre under stairs, even open ones, is that also going to be tricky over water?

I like ferns, in full shade, so would be tempted to leave things as they are.


Thanks for the tips. I’ve used that plot to grow hydrangea, the plant flourished in summer, although not abundant. This year I moved it to brighter spot.

I might try roots vegetables.

Have anybody ever tried mushrooms? Or microgreen in shaded exterior?

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Beets and radishes would be awesome. I also heard that ginger likes partial shade; this might explain why my mom’s and my previous attempts failed. I put a few next to some taller plants this year, as so far they’ve been sprouting better than before.


Ginger sounds like a good idea, I have a Japanese one in my patio, it never sees direct sun. I will try to clone them to test. I don’t know if it’s in shape or not, some yellowish leaves, maybe you can tell me! :rofl:

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Yellowish leaves? Usually a feeding issue, I think.


Yellowing like that - that’s primarily parallel to the leaves’ veins and moving from the tips of the leaves toward the base - is  often the result of a nutrient deficiency. It often indicates a lack of nitrogen, but a significant magnesium deficiency can also cause it, as can a serious  deficiency of some of the minerals that are needed in much lesser amounts than either of those two. The yellowing that results from over-watering (that results in root rot) can also look that though. If they haven’t been staying too wet and you haven’t been fertilizing them regularly, the easiest thing to try first is a light  dose of an all-purpose fertilizer.


Fiddleheads from the ferns? Those are edible.

I’ve done mushrooms. I had a mushroom log I used to grow in my fireplace during warm weather and in the basement during fireplace season. Needs a good bit of water. I bought the log pre-inoculated. It was fun and the mushrooms tasted good. Production never measured up to the pictures.

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I’ve had fiddleheads once, on a trip to Portland, Maine. Would you know if all varieties are edible or is it a specific one?

Indeed! Ate a lot in Malaysia especially on borneo island. Actually quite good.

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@Harters + @MikeG

I see. Thanks. Will try to see if the problem can be fixed.

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I’ve only had fiddleheads cooked by others. Google sent me here but I don’t know how credible that source is.

Do you have agricultural extensions in the UK? We have government entities that help answer those sorts of questions. They usually pretty good with native and common plants, better in rural areas than urban ones.

I love fiddleheads! I used to find them once a year in my local grocery store during the spring, but I haven’t seen any the last two years. They are delicious just gently sauteed in some garlic and butter.

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I used to eat fiddleheads, until one of my botany professors told me that it’s not a good idea. She said most ferns, even the ones used for food, contain potentially cancer-causing chemicals. The same is true with Poke Weed, “Poke Salad” shoots; they contain mitogens. I don’t know if cooking denatures these chemicals.

naf, not only are gingers heavy feeders, they can get mites. Keep a lookout. sometimes problem mites disappear outside due to conditions or predatory mites. For a quick nutrient fix, take the gingers outside and spray the foliage in the evening with liquid fertilizer and on a different evening, seaweed fertilizer.

Galanga also grows well in bright shade. There are two “Galanga”: Kaempferia galanga, also called Lesser Galanga or Chinese dried rhizome (when dried) and Alpinia galanga, the most common one in Thai cuisine. Kaempferia galanga is very low growing with round leaves that hug the ground; it is very shade tolerant. Alpinia galanga gets over 6 feet (2 meters) tall and needs a bit more light. Both can be induced into dormancy. Before it gets cold, frosty, start drying out the plants or bring them inside and let them dry out. Leaves will die back and they’ll “sleep” all winter.

I have a large collection of different gingers: Zeodary, Zerumbet, both Galanga types, Thai Finger ginger (Boesenbergia), Peacock ginger, to name some. Fun and easy to grow.

I grow Shiitake and Blue Dolphin Oyster mushrooms. They require good knowledge and attention to them, in order for them to produce. The work seems like it’s only worth doing if one plans on growing a lot of them; i.e. do a bunch at the same time.


Cooking is “thought to” to render them safe, but apparently some species are more problematic than others - the “bracken ferns” seem to be particularly problematic… (And whether or not one can rely on specific IDs by the ultimate “retailers” is obviously relevant here, but an entirely separate issue…)

I didn’t read them all closely, but this Wikipedia page ( Fiddlehead fern - Wikipedia) and the references it cites seem to cover the potential danger(s) pretty well…


Thanks a lot. Especially useful information on fertilizing the ginger plant. I’ve fertilized twice this year, the new leaves looked better for a week or 2, then it went back with the brown edge.

Thanks for the health warning on ferns.

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The professor who warned me about fern toxins was actually a fern expert, both fossil (Paleobotany) and living. Her vast knowledge of ferns gave her words puissance.

naf, older leaves will brown, which is normal. If younger leaves are browning, it could be due to mites, low humidity, excess sun, mineral buildup in the pot or soil, or lack of nutrition/fertilizer. Fortunately, gingers are pretty tough.


I see this with my ginger too, lots of little shoots but the more mature leaves have brown edges. I’ll have to look for some good fertilizer to see if this helps.

Also, since the shoots tend to develop with the leaves all rolled into a long thin tube that then unfurls, I’ve noticed twice that I had a young leaf get caught in it’s own leaves and it ‘tangled’ with a semi-curled larger leaf. I had to gently pull it out so it could grow normally. There was nothing else in its way, aside from the proximity of that other leaf. Just odd luck for me, or is there something going wrong with my ginger ( this is just one of the 3 pots I have - have not seen this with the other 2).

Specific ferns.

There is also a toxin associated with the fiddleheads, so they need to be boiled for 10plus minutes, then drained before being fried or added to other dishes. I prepared fiddleheads on Good Friday last year (purchased from a store, not picked in the wild) and perhaps I didn’t precook them enough or rinse them, and I think they were the cause of a gastro issue.

Have to avoid bracken which are carcinogenic.