Vegetable Garden in Low Light


I have had a vegetable garden, south facing, for 23 years. I rotate crops each year and add four bags of sheep manure. Over the last several years, greens are prolific but I get only a few tomatos and zucchini. Last year I hand pollinated flowers which may have helped. Problem is few bees and a neighbours sunburst locust which last year blocked most light. An arborist trimmed what he could within our yard but there was still little light. Are there specific veg that require less light or should I give up on seed and just but those large, potted plants that already have fruit? Love to work the earth but it is so much work for little to no return. Any suggestions? Thanks very much.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

Depending on which part of the plant we eat, the sun exposure varies from light shade to full sun. No vegetable grows in full shade.

  • Plants from which we primarily harvest the fruit including tomatoes, and zucchini require the most sunlight and warmth. Full sun means 6 to 8 hours of direct sun light without blockage each day. This is important for plant to set fruit after flowers bloom.
  • Plants grown primarily for their root or flower such as radish, carrots and beets, broccoli and cauliflower require a little less sun.
  • Plants grown primarily for their leaves like lettuce, kale or endives require as little as three hours of sun.

You have a good knowledge of your garden; you may consider experimenting with these vegetables:

 Full sun vegetables  +6 hours of sun                    4 to 6 hours of sun  Less than 4 hours of sun
++ Cucumbers + Beans + Leek – Arugula
++ Eggplant + Beets + Onions – Brussels Sprouts
++ Peppers + Brocoli + Peas – Endives
++ Squash + Cabbage + Potatoes – Kale
++ Tomatoes + Carrots + Radish – Leaf Lettuce
+ Cauliflower + Rutabaga – Mustard greens

Containers are suitable for growing tomatoes and they allow you to grow them in ideal sun exposure. You might be interested by this complete article with a good explanation of all steps for growing tomatoes in containers.

Good  luck !