Vegetables for the Shade: 4 x 4-foot Garden

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Bonnie Plants and P. Allen Smith recently challenged a few of the garden world’s greenest thumbs for our first Garden2Blog Design contest. To add to our popular 4×4 raised bed designs, entries were judged on use of edibles, creativity, and overall design. In this 4×4 garden, Shawna Coronado touts the benefits of growing leafy greens and shows the versatility of growing in either sun or light shade. Consider this plan for cool-season gardening from this popular green lifestyle blogger. Shawna educates on green living, sustainable gardening, and price-wise organic cooking on her blog, shawnacoronado.com.

Shawna Coronado Shade Garden

Shawna wants gardeners everywhere to learn to grow and appreciate healthy and nutritious food. She also touts the garden’s versatility of growing in sun OR shade. Each vegetable provides full flavor and high nutritional value, such the abundance of vitamin K in kale and Swiss chard, or the level of vitamin A in spinach. It’s a colorful garden, too: bright rainbow colors of chard, blue-green kale and collards, burgundy leaves of Red Sails lettuce and mustard greens, and dark green spinach. This combination of cool-season, leafy greens can be grown in full sun or light shade and in Fall or early Spring.

If you want to expand your garden, place two 4 x 4 beds symmetrical on either side of a 3 to 4-foot path, wide enough for you and your tools. Try the Fresh and Handy Herb Garden for the second bed.

Planting the 4 x 4-foot Bed

Take inspiration from these planting options. The plan allows for some interpretation depending on your taste. These plants are pictured small to make the illustration simpler, but your bed will be spilling over as the plants grow! Following spacing on the plant labels, adding a few more plants than we have pictured if the spacing allows.

Healthful Shade Garden

Area 1 – Georgia Collards (3)

Area 2 – Red Sails Lettuce (3)

Area 3 – Mustard Greens (3)

Area 4 – Spinach (3)

Area 5 – Swiss Chard, such as ‘Bright Lights’ (4)

Area 6 – Winterbor Kale (4)

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