How to Grow Vegetables in the Shade in Texas


Shade is an inhospitable environment for most vegetables, but Texas gardeners can have success with cool-season vegetables. Leafy greens such as lettuce, kale or spinach grow well in shade; root vegetables like turnips or beets produce fewer crops than when grown in sun but can tolerate part shade. Texas gardeners should follow the recommended spring and fall planting dates provided by Texas A&M and try different leafy and root vegetables in their shade garden bed to determine what works best for their yard.

Step 1

Dig up the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches to prepare for planting. Use your shovel to break up soil clods. Pull rocks from the ground and remove weeds you encounter, since these compete for resources.

Step 2

Spread 2 inches of compost or manure over the soil to boost its nutrient content. Work the compost or manure into the soil by turning it over with a shovel. When you finish, smooth out the soil with the back of your shovel to create an even grade for planting.

Step 3

Dig one hole for each vegetable plant twice as wide as the plant's root ball. Follow the spacing directions on your plant tag. If planting from seed (which is common with lettuce and leafy greens), create a furrow using the planting depth information on the seed packet to guide you. Some seeds get scattered directly on the soil; in this case, don't make a furrow.

Step 4

Place one plant in each hole, or sow seeds in the furrow (or on the soil) following the spacing directions on the seed packet. Fill in the hole or furrow with soil to plant your vegetables.

Step 5

Water the vegetables or seeds until the soil becomes saturated. Then allow the soil to dry out until it is crumbly and dusty. Water again until the soil becomes saturated.

Step 6

Fertilize vegetable plants using 10-10-10 fertilizer. Consult the dosage range on the packet, then apply dry fertilizer to the soil. Water the soil to disperse nutrients to your plants.

Step 7

Pull weeds out of the garden bed by hand so plants do not have to compete for resources.

Step 8

Harvest your vegetables when they are ready, using the dates on the seed packets as guidelines.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Vegetable plants
  • Vegetable seeds
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer


  • University of Missouri: Gardening in the Shade
  • Iowa State University: Planting a Home Vegetable Garden

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M: Spring Planting Guide for Vegetable Crops
  • Texas A&M: Fall Planting Guide for Vegetable Crops
Keywords: vegetable gardening shade, Texas vegetable garden, shade garden tips

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.