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Veg patch and fruit trees

i am a novice gardener and would really appreciate some advice. 
The area of my garden which I would like to turn into my vegetable patch is currently a herbaceous border with a cherry tree and a damson tree. I would like to remove all plants, but keep the fruit trees and turn this area (2m by 4m) into my veg and fruit patch. Can I ask:
- is it ok to plant fruit and veg under fruit trees
- can I raise the area (with the fruit trees in it to make a raised border for ease? 
- is there anything else I need to consider? 



  • Cultivating the soil immediately underneath your trees will disturb the shallow surface roots of your trees and encourage suckering so I wouldn’t do that, and increasing the depth of the soil around the trunks by creating a raised border is likely to cause the trunks to rot so I wouldn’t do that either ☹️ 

    However I do understand your wish to grow some veg ... can you show us some pics of the area and see if we can come up with some helpful suggestions 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    Hello Lizzie,

    Growing vegetables require good soil, free of tree roots and as much sun as you give them, so no, I’m afraid it wouldn't be a good idea to plant them underneath/in the shade of the tree canopy. How old/established are the trees? If you really want to keep the fruit trees, if they are not too big, it may be feasible to carefully dig up the rootballs and transplant them to the edge of your plot into newly prepared planting holes.

    You need around a metre between the tree canopy (the outer edges of the branches) and the veg patch, also considering the wider shade cast by the trees as the sun moves around. Its ok for the veg to have some shade for part of the day (and things like spinach and lettuce will appreciate some afternoon shade in the summer). However, if you can’t provide the appropriate distance from the tress and decent sun, you will have to choose between the fruit trees and growing vegetables.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • you could put fruit bushes under the trees, but the trees will suck all moisture and feed from the soil before the bushes get chance to use it, so you'll be constantly feeding them if you want good crops on both.
  • The trees are about 3-5 years old- are they movable? 
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,080
    edited February 2019
    The trees are about 3-5 years old- are they movable? 
    Yes but

    1. do it really soon, before they begin to grow - it's much better to move them while they are dormant and they won't be for much longer this year.

    2. prepare the place you're going to move them to before you dig them up - make a nice big hole for each.

    3. water them really well - soak them - before you try to dig them up

    4. dig as far from the tree as you can realistically manage - and especially as deep under as you can. There will be a thick root - the tap root - heading downwards from the trunk - that is the one you mustn't break. Have an old sheet or tarp ready to hoik out the tree with as much soil round the roots as you can. Drop it onto the sheet - carry it between two of you or drag it to the new site, drop it in the hole that's ready. If the roots don't get any air on them at all (tall order, but it's what you're aiming for) then it'll never be any the wiser what happened while it was asleep.

    5. Add a nice thick layer of a good mulch - compost if you can - to the surface once it's all firmed in and filled. 

    6. Water it well in its new site - soak it. 

    With luck and with care, they won't know they've moved. There's every chance they'll be fine. But there is a risk you'll damage a critical root and one or both won't survive, so it depends how you'd feel if you lost one.

    I'd move them and hope, but I'm fairly tough about plants that chose to die when I tried to help them live. It happens. If they are family heirlooms or cost you a lot of money, then maybe leave them and find another spot for the veg.

    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,836
    Look up forest gardening, the Agroforestry Research Trust has a useful guide. 
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