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Will Growing Tomatoes In Shade Still Produce Good Fruit?

Will growing tomatoes in shade still produce good, quality fruit? Growing up in a dry and warm climate in Australia, shade was never an issue.

But when we had to, yes, we were able to grow tomatoes in shaded areas. However, shaded can mean a variety of things.

I’m talking at least four hours of direct sunlight a day with the rest of the day in partial or full shade.

You see, my parents were Italian immigrants and tomatoes were a staple part of our diet. They owned a vineyard with a lot of accompanying land for other fruit and vegetables.

A large part of that extra land was devoted to tomatoes. There were plenty of trees surrounding this area so shaded areas were a formality.

My parents didn’t waste any of it. They made sure every corner of that land had a fruit or vegetable plant on it. And some tomatoes were in the shaded areas.

This didn’t make much difference to their production rate. They produced fruit similar to those tomatoes exposed to more sunlight.

The plants themselves were a little more elongated but that’s natural as plants keep reaching until they “hit sunlight.

The fruit was a fraction smaller but you really had to look to tell the difference.

So, will growing tomatoes in shade still produce good fruit? Yes it will but you have to understand, my parents were expert gardeners and could grow a great crop of vegetables in the desert.

So in this article, I want to explore growing tomatoes in shade a little more for those of you not considered expert gardeners.

I believe despite a lack of sunlight, it’s still possible to produce tomatoes that will pass the appearance and taste test.

What Do We Mean Growing Tomatoes In Shade?

grow tomatoes in shaded areasSo, what do we mean by shade? Shade tolerance refers to how well plants do under low light conditions. To determine whether you have a plant that tolerates shade, look carefully at the leaves.

If the leaf veins are clearly visible, it indicates full sun. When the vein pattern is obscured, it suggests some shade.

If you live in a climate where there is little variation in day length throughout the year, you probably don’t need to worry about shading issues. But if you’re growing tomatoes in a greenhouse, garden shed, or even a sunny window box, you might find yourself wondering what counts as shade.

The answer depends on several factors including the type of tomato plant, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the season. In general, most tomato varieties prefer full sun exposure.

However, there are types of tomato varieties as there are  beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash that can handle part shade.

In addition to being able to withstand shade, certain varieties of tomatoes are known to produce better fruit under lower light levels. This includes bush tomato varieties and patio hybrid varieties.

What Do Tomatoes Need To Grow Well Inside?

growing tomatoes insideTomato plants grow best when given lots of water and fertilizer, along with plenty of light. But there are some varieties of tomato that do just fine in partial shade, and even full sun.

Additionally, tomatoes can be grown indoors or out, depending on the climate where you live.

If your home is not very well-lit, it may be difficult to get enough sunlight for a healthy plant. If this is the case, consider growing tomatoes inside using a grow light.

They are inexpensive today and simply searching for grow lights will give you plenty of options for $30-$50 bucks.

You will need a large pot (at least twelve inches deep) filled with rich soil. The pot should have drainage holes at the bottom.

Place the pot in an area with bright light, such as under a window or near a sunny patio. Water the plant regularly, but don’t let the soil dry out completely.

Tomato Varieties That Grow Well In The Shade

romas in shadeHeirloom tomato varieties are some of the most popular garden plants because they’re hardy, easy to grow, and produce delicious fruits. But they are susceptible to disease unlike their hybrid cousins.

But heirloom tomatoes aren’t just for backyard gardens anymore. They’ve become increasingly popular for apartment gardening and even indoor growing.

With the popularity of heirloom tomatoes, many people are wondering what types of tomatoes are best suited for different conditions. There are several factors to consider when choosing a variety for your home garden or apartment balcony.

The first thing to look at is whether it needs full sun or partial shade. Tomatoes like full sun, but they’ll do fine in partial shade too. If you live in an area with lots of shade, choose a variety that likes part shade.

Cherry tomato varieties are a great choice when searching for shade tolerant tomatoes. Black Cherry and Isis Candy Cherry are popular choices if light is an issue.

Roma tomatoes are another strong choice when thinking about growing tomatoes in shade areas. Two of my favorites are Black Krim and Siberia tomatoes while a plum variety like San Marzano, great for preserving in a diced fashion, is recommended if consistent light is an issue. 

One more to consider, especially if making tomato sauce or paste is your preference are the Mama Leones. They produce in high quantity in normal light circumstances but this over abundance makes them a good choice in shaded conditions too. 

Essentially, because of its large production of fruit, even if some don’t mature under shaded conditions, there will still be an over abundance that do. 

Don’t let lack of sunlight stop you from growing tomatoes. There are varieties that will produce under shaded conditions.

Conclusion: Growing Tomatoes In Shade

tomato seedlingsSo, we know that tomatoes require full sun to grow well. They do best where there are six hours of sunlight each day.

But as I mentioned, don’t let a lack of sunshine prevent you from growing tomatoes.

If you live somewhere with less than six hours of sunshine, consider planting tomatoes in pots or containers.

When you make your tomatoes portable, you can move them to take advantage of the the sunniest parts of the day. I used to do this all the time for my parents and the end result was always healthy plants with a great output.

And don’t forget, if you grow tomatoes inside and there’s a lack of areas in the house where sunlight seeps in, you can always use artificial lighting.

Remember tomatoes like plenty of water while they’re growing. Watering regularly keeps plants healthy and can help prevent disease problems. Keep a close eye on signs of drought stress.

When it looks dry, give your plant some extra water. In addition, you may want to fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer when the soil is dry.

Growing tomatoes in shade is a lot easier today that it once once with tools such as artificial light and better growing methods.

Some varieties of tomatoes are being hybridized to grow in partly shaded areas and thrive.

Let me know in the comments how you do with growing tomatoes in shaded or partly shaded areas. Feel free to share your tips with our readers.

Grow Tomatoes In Shade
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Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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