A woodland vegetable patch?

Anything to do with growing herbs and vegetables goes here.

Is my woodland clearing suitable for growing fruit and veg?

Yes
12
92%
No
1
8%
 
Total votes: 13

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mybarnconversion
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A woodland vegetable patch?

Post: #62089 mybarnconversion
Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:38 am

I have a small patch of woodland in South West Wales, that is gentling sloping and south-ish facing. There is a clearing in it that is perhaps 5 or 6 metres by 8 or 9 metres. The trees around the clearing are ash, hawthorn & scrub oak and at a maximum perhaps 7 metres tall. At this time of year the clearing gets direct sunlight for 2-3 hours either side of noon, with dappled light through the trees for the rest of the day.

I also have a set of sleepers just dying to be made into a raised bed.

So, putting the two together, I’d like to grow some fruit and veg in a raised bed placed in this clearing – is that sensible given its slightly shady but protected outlook or should I be looking for a different location?

If it is suitable which fruit and veg will do best?

Thanks

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Millymollymandy
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Post: #62092 Millymollymandy
Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:47 am

Lettuce should be fine because it will do better partly shaded in mid summer or when it is really hot. Probably best to steer clear of Med type veggies like toms and aubergines which require a lot of heat and sun.

My veg patch has tons of sun so I don't think I can help further but I'm sure there are others who have more shaded gardens who'll be able to advise. Good luck!

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Post: #62095 Annpan
Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:52 am

I was reading John Seymores book last night and he suggests not planting anything too near trees as they take all the goodness from the ground, making it sterile :? However if you are having a raised bed with plenty of muck dug in then why not

How about starting with a small selection and stepping it up next year if it works?
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Post: #62103 revdode
Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:19 pm

It should be possible to grow quite a variety of plants in that situation, although perhaps not exactly what you want. Do a search for forest gardening on the googlaphone. Forest spaces and edges can be very productive, although it would be nice if you replace some of your trees with fruit. Perhaps plant smaller fruit or nut trees around the edge of the plot and underplant with bush fruits and vegetables.
Most books on Permaculture touch on this subject, the concept of layering and designing your productive space in the environment you have rather than trying to impose your idea of what a garden should be on the environment.

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Post: #62106 Thomzo
Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:38 pm

Hi
I have a similarish situation. My plot has tall trees along the southern boundary, my neighbours hedge/leylandii to the west and the shed to the east. I have found it very difficult to establish vegetables over the last couple of years.

The trees do strip out most of the water. The raised beds don't really help as they tend to drain really quickly. I also get a lot of suckers from the poplar trees as the roots are really near the surface.

Shade is a problem for many plants and I find birds and small mammals a problem as well.

Can you water the area at all? I am going to try rigging up an automatic watering system with water collected from the shed roof.

The leaves make good mulch in autumn. I do, however, find that I get leaves and small twigs falling off the trees all year round - especially in high winds and rain. These have in the past damaged my seedlings or covered them up completely so they don't have a chance.

This year's lettuces seem to be doing OK but very slow to get going. Potatoes do reasonably well. I did get some small beetroot last year so am trying them again this year.

Sounds like you and I are going to face the same problems.

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Post: #62172 mybarnconversion
Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:18 am

Ok -- so no show-stoppers ... and it would appear that root veg are likely to do best.

Any other recommendations for what to grow? I guess there must be certain species / varieties that do better than others ... I just don't know what they are -- it's this whole forest edge thing I'm trying to define!

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Post: #62191 Jack
Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:25 am

Gidday

Well only some trees will be a problem, like those leylandii. Normal broadleaf trees will not onl;y be no problem but I believe they will actually enhance the available mineral content of the soil. In such a case it is the shade that will be the greatest problem, but anything really leafy should do O.K.
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Post: #62213 mybarnconversion
Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:10 pm

Jack wrote:Gidday

Well only some trees will be a problem, like those leylandii. Normal broadleaf trees will not onl;y be no problem but I believe they will actually enhance the available mineral content of the soil. In such a case it is the shade that will be the greatest problem, but anything really leafy should do O.K.


These are indigenous deciduous trees - ash, scrub oak, hawthorne & hazel, so I guess no real 'threat' just a little shady.

I've found a couple of references regarding what to grow so far, but nothing amazing...

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Post: #62248 ohareward
Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:14 pm

Try this site. It is a forum and answers a lot of your questions.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 10833.html

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Post: #62252 possum
Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:49 am

What about jerusalem artichokes? in a clearing they are going to be sheltered from the wind, so won't need staking
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Post: #62272 mybarnconversion
Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:30 am

Robin, thanks for the link.

Possum, jerusalem artichokes are a favourite.

I think I can start to compile a list:

jerusalem artichokes
tomatoes
rhubarb
lettuce
strawberry
herbs (the usual suspects)
black currants

...think I can feel a plan coming on...

Thanks all!

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Post: #62349 Cornelian
Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:47 pm

I have a partially to very shaded vegie garden, and have grown most things successfully. I even have potatoes growing well under big trees. They get a bit of sun, but not the full sun recommended, and I still get good crops from them. I just need to keep the water up to them because of the tree. Even now in the middle of a cold winter I have a crop of spuds growing there from seed potatoes I couldn't be bothered digging up, so will actually get a winter crop from them.

Raspberries will also do well if they haven't yet been mentioned.

Pumpkins I planted at the edge of woodland did not do well - they really needed more sun.
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Raspberry Bushes

Post: #63562 onetoremember
Sat Jun 30, 2007 8:19 pm

i would try a few raspeberry bushes. we have some in our garden and it is quite shady they also like an acid soil
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Post: #63584 flower
Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:51 pm

you could maybe grow a lovely crop of mushrooms, encourage nettles for soup in the spring, horse radish, rhubarb and so on.
I think pak choi, mizuna and landcress might enjoy that sort of environment and of course blackberries would thrive :lol:

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Post: #63649 mybarnconversion
Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:17 pm

flower wrote:you could maybe grow a lovely crop of mushrooms, encourage nettles for soup in the spring, horse radish, rhubarb and so on.
I think pak choi, mizuna and landcress might enjoy that sort of environment and of course blackberries would thrive :lol:


Nettles are not a problem - no need to encourage them, same goes for blackberries. :wink:

Horse radish & raspberries added to my list!


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