Shade in the garden it is usually categorized as follows:
When gardening in the shade you have an array of flowering annuals, perennials, bulbs, sages, and woodland plants to choose from. In light shade you might even be able to grow a few herbs or leafy vegetables. . Some examples of shade-tolerant vegetables include: arugula, chard, bok choy, lettuce, carrots, parsnips, beets, peas, spinach. Also, herbs such as thyme, lemon balm, parsley, marjoram, oregano, mint, etc.
Although partially or lightly shaded areas receive direct sunlight for only a small portion of the day, light intensity is still quite bright. There are numerous plant choices you can make in these locations, though by no means as many as are possible with five or more hours of direct, full sunlight.
Light is not the only major concern when gardening in shady areas. Frequently, inadequate moisture can be a problem. The thick canopy of a large tree or the overhang of a house will act as an umbrella, deflecting rainfall away from the ground directly beneath it. Worse yet, trees and shrubs will compete with smaller plants for every drop of moisture that reaches the ground. It is vital that plants growing in the shade of large trees and shrubs, or sheltered by your home or garage, be watered regularly even during times of seemingly adequate rainfall.
Soil fertility also can be a source of trouble. Trees and shrubs fill the soil with feeder roots that greedily use up nutrients as readily as they are applied. It often seems that the more you water and fertilize the more roots with which you have to contend. Yet adequate fertility is an absolute must for all your plants because without it they are bound to be small and their growth will be weak. In most cases a spring application of a balanced fertilizer, followed by one or two applications as the season progresses, will help your shade plants survive the competition of tree and shrub roots. If root competition is a serious problem, planting in containers above ground is a viable alternative. Containers should be replanted each spring with annuals, since bulbs or perennials cannot be expected to survive winter's cold.
With few exceptions shade-tolerant plants will do best in well-drained, relatively fertile soil. Both sandy soils and heavy, clay like soils will benefit from the incorporation of organic matter such as peat moss, compost, or well-rotted manure.