How Much Sunlight Does My Vegetable Garden Need?


People are increasingly interested in growing their own food, due to cost considerations, freshness and health and to maintain a strong connection with the natural world. Fewer and fewer people, however, come from a farm background and may never have grown a garden. They are looking for information on how to grow their own vegetables, such as how much sunlight is needed for their garden.

Gardening 101: Sunlight

  • Most vegetables require a lot of sunlight. When deciding where to plant your garden, you should choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight. Don't plant your garden too near any trees, bushes or buildings that could obstruct the sunlight. This is especially important when planting warm-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans and corn.

What Vegetables can I Plant in the Shade?

  • None, not if you're talking about total shade. There are some vegetables that will thrive in partial shade, however. According to the Colorado Extension Service, you can determine how much sun plants will need in this way: vegetables that grow from a flower, such as tomatoes, require the most sunshine, root plants require about a half a day's sunlight and leafy plants require the least sunlight. These include spinach, lettuce, cabbage, radishes and broccoli.

What If I Don't have a Sunny Spot?

  • If you want to grow some vegetables that require a lot of sunlight and you don't have a good spot in your yard to do it, you have some alternatives. Tomatoes, for example, can be grown in a container on a deck, balcony or in a similar spot. You could get together with other would-be gardeners and form a community garden. Community gardens are formed by people who band together, decide what and how much they want to grow, look for a sponsor and approach someone with land about leasing the area for a set amount of time. It's an option if you need more sunlight than what you have available at your home.

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