A west-facing garden presents a challenge when it comes to growing many fruits or tender flowers that prefer afternoon shade. The long hours of sunlight in such a garden, however, make it ideal for growing many types of vegetables. By their very nature, most vegetable plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight to flower and set fruit, and usually the more sun the better. Some vegetables, on the other hand, are not so amenable to direct afternoon sun, like leafy green plants such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage, or those that don't tolerate heat well, like peas and carrots. Despite the challenges leafy greens and temperature-sensitive vegetables present, there are many that will thrive in a west-facing garden.
As a root vegetable, radishes enjoy significant amounts of sun. They are also heat-tolerant and do well in west-facing gardens that receive full afternoon sun.
Corn requires long daylight hours and stands up to heat and strong afternoon sun well, making it ideal for a west-facing garden. Corn can also be planted strategically to shade other vegetables and fruits that might not fare quite as well in afternoon sun.
Nearly every variety of squash will thrive in a west-facing garden, especially the most popular varieties such as zucchini, butternut and spaghetti squash.
Whether they're sweet, mild or hot, peppers need lots of sun, both for growth and flavor. Some of the best peppers in the world are grown in the hot, direct sun of New Mexico, which is famous for its delicious Anaheim peppers.
Onions thrive in many conditions, but the strongest and most intense flavor is produced by long, hot days, such as those found in west-facing gardens. Onions can also be interspersed with other vegetables to save space, if needed, or planted around the edges of the garden to deter pests.
Like onions, potatoes can be grown in many different conditions, but do especially well in strong sun and heat, making them ideal for west-facing gardens.