Shade tolerant and cold hardy edibles

My front yard is like our spare room.  It’s the last place I bother to worry about, as far as appearance goes.  We’re mostly in our back yard anyway, and our front yard is too shady to grow anything so I’ve almost given up on it.  Until now, the front window box has mostly functioned as a neighbourhood kitty litter.  When we first moved in, I planted greenery and some flowers in the box, but because it gets almost no sunlight and the overhang prevents rain water from reaching the bed, it was a miserable failure.

our front window box, just before planting

Then my friend, Shanon, suggested I plant something edible and shade tolerant, like salad greens, assuming (correctly) I would be more interested in watering something I could eat, rather than just look at.

She was right, I watered them faithfully but I was still worried the plants wouldn’t thrive; not for lack of moisture, but lack of light.  They are shaded by the house and the surrounding evergreens almost the entire day.

arugula seedlings… will they survive?

To my surprise, and delight, it turns out that swiss chard, cilantro, arugula and lettuce all do just fine in cold weather, under a shady overhang.  (The thermometer has been dipping below zero for quite some time now.)

chard and arugula

Now the next challenge is getting the chard and arugula down my sweet children’s throats.

I think the swiss chard did the best.

Crackers with goat cheese, cranberries, almonds and arugula–from the shady window box!  Goat cheese is the perfect partner for the strong, nutty taste of arugula.

The kids didn’t touch these.  Once Susanna found out it was arugula, instead of lettuce, they didn’t stand a chance.  Also, twenty seven seconds after I took the above photo a smoothie splattered all over our floor and walls, a glass broke, and tempers flared… (‘lest you think our day was one grand hors d’oeuvre party.)

Anyway,  it is nice to go into the colder weather with some token food production and recent memory of growth.

Be well, and good luck finding your own local end-of-season greens!



6 thoughts on “Shade tolerant and cold hardy edibles

  1. Hurray! A way around those slugs! I meant to tell you that your front greens looked great (the arugula tasted great too – I had a sample!) William will eat the arugula if it is blended up as pesto – maybe something to try?

  2. Hi Tricia,

    I cut my swiss chard and chop it up and freeze it in bags (without blanking it). I then pretend that it is spinach and use it in soups and dips. It works great and then the kids don’t feel like they are eating a whole plateful of Swiss Chard.

    Your front beds look great in the pictures!

  3. We have the same front yard: shady and neglected. We planted potatoes, which did great until Dan hilled (killed) them. So: learning experience!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s