Will Potatoes Grow In The Shade

Will Potatoes Grow In The Shade?

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Do you have a shady spot in the garden and want to know if potatoes will work in it? Well, that is precisely the dilemma I faced, so I thought I would test it and find out, so let’s have a look and see how I got on!

Can You grow Potatoes In The Shade
Can You grow Potatoes In The Shade

So, Can You Grow Potatoes In The Shade?

Yes, you can, my experiment has shown that you can grow potatoes in a fully shaded spot where they get no direct sunlight at all. You will have tubers to harvest but the harvest will be smaller than potatoes grown in full sun.

Read on to find out how I tested this out and came to the conclusion above!

Trying To Grow Potatoes In The Shade

Right at the bottom of my allotment, I have a large metal fence about 4 or 5ft high that runs the plot length. This is made of solid sheet roofing metal and happens to be on the south side of the plot.

So what this means is that the area right up to this fence gets no direct sunlight, none at all, it is in shade all day long.

Where The Potatoes Will Grow
Where The Potatoes Will Grow

Obviously, this poses a bit of a conundrum to the gardener and you wonder what will grow there. After leaving this patch bare for a year I decided to try and grow something there and to see what happened.

The crop I chose to grow was the humble potato, more because I had some spare seed potatoes left and thought why not? Rather than anything more profound.

The Potatoes In Their Pit
The Potatoes In Their Pit

So here they are, my potatoes in a pit. You can just see the bottom of the fence here and can also see that the sunlight just reaches the area where the grass starts. The potatoes will be in permanent shade.

Happily Growing In The Shade

Here you can see that the potatoes are happily growing away in this shaded patch, it also demonstrates just how the sun misses them entirely.

Happily Growing In The Shade
Happily Growing In The Shade

So the foliage is growing, but will any tubers develop? Is the plant able to suck up enough energy to store and create nice big spuds if it is not getting direct sunlight, I guess I will have to wait and see.

Harvesting My Shade Potatoes

So the time has come to harvest my shade-grown potatoes and see whether this experiment has been a success or a failure. Time to get digging!

The Patch before Harvesting
The Patch before Harvesting

Here is the patch before I started digging and as you can see there is only one potato plant (right in the back left corner) still standing.

I don’t know whether it was to do with the shade or not but these potatoes died back really suddenly, one day they were there and the next they were gone.

The Potato Harvest
The Potato Harvest

So there they are the potatoes grown entirely in the shade. So this experiment was a success, but not without caveats.

I planted 8 seed potatoes and as you can see it wasn’t exactly a bumper crop.

So while you can grow potatoes in the shade the crop will be a lot smaller. But if like me, nothing else was going to grow there anyway then why not grow some spuds?

Also, remember that these were grown in complete shade, they never got any direct sunlight.

So if your chosen area gets partial or even just a few hours of direct sunlight a day then you can expect better results than me.

So, Can You Grow Potatoes In The Shade?

Yes, you can, my experiment has shown that you can grow potatoes in a fully shaded spot where they get no direct sunlight at all. You will have tubers to harvest but the harvest will be smaller than potatoes grown in full sun.

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3 Comments

  1. How do you start on hydroponics? My greenhouse, not yet erected, will be 22 foot x 10.4 with end smaller room. I’m very interested in hydroponics growing as I’m now disabled & unable to dig. I understand one still starts plant’s the normal way in trays, then into hydroponic squares(or whatever they are called)

  2. I have to grow Potatoes in every way possible,( In Large Buckets, and Tub’s )
    Some are Grown in Shade but Most are behind Trees and bushes The ones in the sun are in Potato bags designed for the reason of not much room, Garden is only 30ft square in that area. It also is used for a Large fish pond and bushes so I still have a decent garden for plants etc. Last year we grew far too many potatoes in pots and had to store them in Potato bags indoors for the winter.. This year we will Probably do the same as you never Know what’s coming. Thank you for showing that it Is possible to grow Potatoes in the shade. It encourages me to grow more.

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