Siting Raised Bed

Dear Lynn

Due to the garden orientation and adjacent buildings the area I intend to place my raised vegetable bed only gets about 3 hours of sun per day.  Is this sufficient sunlight?

Thank you


Dear Mike

Not many home gardeners have the luxury of full sun on an open site which is what the seed packets and gardening books will tell you is a necessity. 

You didn’t say what your garden orientation was or mention the time of day your plot would get sun as 3 hours sunlight from 11-2pm is different from early morning or late afternoon sun and the height of the sun in summer and winter will be very different too.  But the fact that your plants will get 3 hours continuous sunlight will mean that you can grow a good variety of vegetables.  Full shade is not much use for growing any vegetables, but many actually prefer shadier conditions and moister soil.  The vegetables that you will struggle with are the likes of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, sweetcorn etc. any vegetables that prefer full sun.

The following vegetables should give a good crop with 3 hours sun or dappled shade per day.

  • Salad leaves
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Radishes
  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Leafy greens such as mustards, kale, Oriental Veg such as Pak Choi.
  • Cauliflower

Vegetables that bolt easily such as lettuce, spinach, beetroot and cauliflower will grow for longer in shadier, moister conditions.

Maybe you could grow vertically up obelisks and canes, giving you more height and grasping that extra bit of sunshine, you could also use cloches to give them that extra bit of warmth but by making the most of the vegetables that you can grow you should be able to harvest lots of tasty vegetables from spring through to autumn.

Good luck!

Kind Regards

Lynn Burton
Horticultural Adviser