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Long term strategy for my garden

 
Amjad Khan
Posts: 70
Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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Hello, I am trying to plan my garden set up with a bit of limited space, about 13 x 12 meters, in London, Ontario, Canada.

The diagram is pretty rough, so please excuse that. It is scaled at 1cm : 1m. The black curves represent fairly dense shade thrown from established Norway maples

I planted a persimmon (red) in the middle of the raised bed, and later read that this isn't a great idea as annuals are not best suited for harvest among tree roots and I'd like to keep it as an annual bed. I planted this persimmon this past fall (2015), would it be best to move it this spring, or let it grow for the summer and move it in the fall? Any recommendations for a location? How would just east of the asparagus bed be?

There is also a medium sized, 2.5-3 meter tall evergreen tree planted just inside of the bed, in green. Other than shade, will this create any issues for annuals I try to grow there? (I tried onions last year and they didn't do anything, but perhaps that was due to poor soil or inadequate sunlight.

I will also be getting three pawpaw trees this spring and have selected sites in blue. I get mostly afternoon sunlight from the west and so thought the pawpaw would get enough sun in those locations.

The last modification I want to do is the addition of a half strawberry and half asparagus key-hole bed (pink and orange). Does this sound like a good idea? Would it be better to try to grow them as polycultures, and if so with what else?

Thank you,

Amjad


Garden diagram.jpg
[Thumbnail for Garden diagram.jpg]
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Amjad Khan wrote:I planted a persimmon (red) in the middle of the raised bed, and later read that this isn't a great idea as annuals are not best suited for harvest among tree roots and I'd like to keep it as an annual bed.


It depends on the annuals and the method you're going to be using to plant them. Root Crops which require digging or piling up soil in one space [such as potatoes] are a bad idea but other annuals grown no-till style can totally work out. Your yields might be a bit less because of the shade the persimmon will eventually produce [and if you have a limited water supply that might dampen yield/slow tree growth a bit as well] but the diversity in a small space is not a bad thing to have.

I planted this persimmon this past fall (2015), would it be best to move it this spring, or let it grow for the summer and move it in the fall? Any recommendations for a location? How would just east of the asparagus bed be?


First you have to decide for yourself for certain whether or not you intend to move it. You don't have all that much space and yearly crops of a fruit that isn't often on the market is a really good thing. IF you do decide to keep it in place, don't forget to train the central leader downwards when it reaches the maximum height you want, so you don't have to keep walking over your annual bed to prune it.

As an option C, you could totally turn that bed into a perennial bed, filled with all sorts of perennial vegetables and perhaps some smallfruit shrubs.

There is also a medium sized, 2.5-3 meter tall evergreen tree planted just inside of the bed, in green. Other than shade, will this create any issues for annuals I try to grow there? (I tried onions last year and they didn't do anything, but perhaps that was due to poor soil or inadequate sunlight.

Yeah, conifers tend to shut down anything that wants to grow near them with few exceptions. The only edible exception I have personal experience with is Dandelion, and even they seem a bit stunted by the fir tree in question.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 186
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Have you had any luck growing anything under the Norway maples? That's a large chunk of your space and it would be great if you could put it to some use.
 
Amjad Khan
Posts: 70
Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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Thanks for the replies!

Mr. Ryder - I think somewhere in my plans I had the idea for a perennial bed there, I just forgot what I had planned! My (hard to read) diagram showed that I wanted to get some nanking cherry bushes, haskap, and Siberian pea shrub for that area with a line of comfrey on the east border. The shed throws a bunch of shade in the afternoon though, so I wanted to take a better reading of how much sun that bed actually gets before I invest too much into it.

Mr. Goode - The areas under the Norway maples are ones I intend to develop in the near future, but I still wasn't quite sure what would thrive under there.. I was toying with the idea of a kiwi vine or two. I need to do further research into what grows well without much sun. I was thinking of putting raspberry canes along the back (Eastern) fence as well, but wasn't sure how well they would do in the shade. I also plan on taking out some branches from the Norway to make a tiny bit more sun, but not to create too much of a change. Right now the area is a mess of creeping vines and other weeds.

Thank you both very much,

I appreciate the input!

Amjad
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1424
Location: Central New Jersey
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Might I suggest that you identify several of the plants now growing in the shade under the maples and research their requirements, then use the "Plants for a future" database to search for analogues that you might use in your shaded area? Also, a bit of research sometimes reveals that the existing volunteers have desirable qualities and you may already have something useful growing

Regarding the persimmon, I would probably try not to transplant it (again), in favor of developing the bed for perennials (even forest garden). Certainly you could have leaf crops growing around it while you work out a longer term plan. Not going to have much competition between the tree and some lettuce

Personally, I think I would lose the evergreen. In addition to throwing very dense shade, they generally push the ph to the acid side and so limit choices for working with them in a couple of ways.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 186
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Peter Ellis wrote:Might I suggest that you identify several of the plants now growing in the shade under the maples and research their requirements, then use the "Plants for a future" database to search for analogues that you might use in your shaded area? Also, a bit of research sometimes reveals that the existing volunteers have desirable qualities and you may already have something useful growing


That's a great idea! What do you have growing now? We've got a Norway maple ourselves, and right now nothing at all grows under it.
 
Amjad Khan
Posts: 70
Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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Steven Goode wrote:
Peter Ellis wrote:Might I suggest that you identify several of the plants now growing in the shade under the maples and research their requirements, then use the "Plants for a future" database to search for analogues that you might use in your shaded area? Also, a bit of research sometimes reveals that the existing volunteers have desirable qualities and you may already have something useful growing


That's a great idea! What do you have growing now? We've got a Norway maple ourselves, and right now nothing at all grows under it.


I think that's a really good ideas as well! I will have to wait until the spring and summer to identify those plants. Right now I can't remember what grows there, and I probably don't know how to exactly identify them, but I like the idea of matching their growing requirements. Brilliant.

Thank you
 
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