How Much Sunlight for Salad Greens?

November 7, 2020

I get a lot of questions about how much direct sunlight different types of vegetables need in the garden. I always recommend your flowering/fruiting crops get a good 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

Root crops such as turnips, beets, carrots etc. are good in that range as well but can perform nicely in the 5-6 hour sun range.

Leafy greens can get by on part sun/part shade - 3-4 hours of direct sun is best. Here is a great example from my garden. The photos above are of mixed leafy greens all direct seeded into my garden on the same day (probably about 5 weeks ago) in a perimeter bed that receives varying degrees of direct sun..or none. The photo at the top is in a spot that receives about 3-4 or so hours of directly sun. Clockwise at bottom right is a spot that recives about an hour or two of direct sun/shade the rest of the day. The bottom left photo receives no direct sun and is shaded all day. So even with leafy greens where you don’t need to produce flowers & fruit, light volume makes a huge difference in productivity.

So if you are trying to veggie garden in dappled shade all day or or full shade, understand you’ll need to manage your expectations and stick to the most shade tolerant of leafy greens. Or, do some gardening under lights indoors!

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