Planning a garden and wondering exactly how much sunlight do vegetables need? You’re not alone. The key to growing vegetables successfully always begins with the proper amount of sunlight. Without it, no amount of water, fertilizer, or weeding will bring about a bountiful harvest.
We’ll start out by saying that all vegetables will grow in full sun. But knowing that not all of us have an area that receives full sun, there are options! Many varieties can be grown with part sun or even part shade. We’ll go through these below.
To clarify, when someone says full sun, it means 6+ hours of direct sunlight. Part sun is 4 – 6 hours, and part shade is at least 4 hours.
Thinking about planting in a new area? Observe it throughout a sunny day as spring approaches. Look every couple of hours or so to determine the total hours of sunlight the garden area will receive.
If you don’t have the time to observe the area, we recommend using a sunlight calculator. These are inexpensive devices that stick into the ground. They measure the sunlight over the course of a day, then indicate if it’s full sun, part sun or a part shade area.
Now that you know what amount of sunlight your growing area receives, its time to choose from the list of vegetables that will grow best in this garden.
Vegetables that must have Full Sun
Vegetables that will thrive in Part Sun
Vegetables you can grow in Part Shade
As an easy-to-remember rule, leafy vegetables are the most adaptable to low light conditions. Root vegetables are the next in line, and fruit-bearing vegetables requiring the greatest amount of sunlight.
If your garden site offers less than desirable sunlight, consider planting in another area or think about planting your vegetable plants in containers on your sunny deck or patio.