Forum home Fruit & veg

wisest use of space

hello, I'm after a bit of advice. I have a long raised bed which used to contain a very large conifer hedge which is backed by an eight foot high south east facing brick wall. I have removed all the stumps and large roots and intend to dig some well rotted manure through it sometime soon. I want to turn it into a veg garden, but the wall is the issue. If i were to grow trained fruit trees against it would they take all the goodness from the veg and would their roots be so big as to interfer with general planting and seed sowing etc. Or would i be better to plant blackberries and other soft fruit?



  • Perfect spot for fan trained apricots and figs.  You could grow other soft fruit (black currants, gooseberries and strawberries, in front of them so that you won't be digging deeply and disturbing the tree roots, and then you could growl salad leaves amongst them, and edge with neat borders of chives and parsley image

    Or, you could plant your fan trained apricots and figs in large bottomless containers and sink them in the raised bed - that way the roots will go downwards before they go outwards and shouldn't be disturbed by your veg long as you don't dig too deeply (and you shouldn't need to in a raised bed).

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267

    Depends on the width of the bed and the amount of sun it gets.

     I'm not very good with compass points and where the sun is in relation to east and west etc.. image I get sun all day, apart from shade which is man made by my neighbours 8ft high fence and wall, so have not needed to get my head around South East facing walls, If you say what time you get sun in summer and for how long I'd be better able to advise image.

    The wall should not be an issue providing you get alot of sun and double dig in manure at the start and then give the soil a dressing each year to provide a feed for the plants you plan to plant. I put in a 6ft high trellis a ft in front of the nieghbours wall/fence after removing two conifers which were as tall as the house, it's a flower bed now with climbers. 

    I don't see any reason why you can't grow cordons and plant veg in front.

  • But you won't want to keep digging too close  around the roots of the cordons image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • dear dovefromabove, very much like the sunken container idea. would apricots do well this far north? they sound quite delicate. but having a general soft fruit area that dos'nt need to be disturbed sounds good too and it is a flipping long wall so should have space for blackberries aswell. thanks kindly for advice.

  • There are some new varieties, Tomcot and Flavourcot are two, which have been bred to crop well in the cooler UK climate - whether they'd perform where you are I don't know - they would need fleece to protect the blossom from late frosts which is what I plan to do with mine here in Norfolk, when it's planted.  

    If I were you I'd contact one of the specialist suppliers and ask them - these are the suppliers I use but they are local to me

    Might be a bit too far north for figs tho' , but there's lots of other things you can tran on walls - I'm going to espalier a pear - am awaiting the maiden tree any day now.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I've never seen it on apricots Christopher, but the RHS website says that it does sometimes affect them but only occasionally.  My mother-in-law (who is by no stretch of the imagination 'a gardener') has a Tomcot against a wall in her garden in Lincs.  It fruits really well and the flavour is unlike anything I've ever tasted in a shop apricot. hence my determination to grow one now I have a large enough garden.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Hi,against a south facing wall you could grow so much fruit cordons and soft fruits and train them along wires etc,the wall will hold the heat from the sun for long time after the sun has gone down,i would grow a mixture of cordon fruit trees like Apples,Pears,Apricots etc and may be even a grape vine or two,raspberries be good also with some good drainage at base of soil,just mix some grit to the soil upto a depth of around two foot with some john innes no.2 soil and some well rotted manure or compost,you can then also if wish inter plant with herbs which will atract pollen insects which inturn will pollinate your fruit trees,but dont plant to close to the trees,leave a space of around 2 foot from the trees with the herbs as they are heavy rooters,bulbs are ok to plant around them too..good luck

  • If the trees' roots are not in a container they will spread much further than two feet into the surrounding soil.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

Sign In or Register to comment.