Planting vegetables near trees

by geraldine
(Nova Scotia Canada)

My friend’s community garden bed is close to trees and the plants seem to wilt very fast. He has peppers and broccoli planted. The broccoli that was taken from this bed had no roots when taken out of the ground, but there was no sign of bugs.
There are 6 other people in the garden and they do not seem to have this problem as of yet. Could it be that he's putting on too much fertilizer or getting it on the plants?

Comments for Planting vegetables near trees

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Jun 10, 2009
Tree roots fight for nutrition
by: Anonymous

I have planted a lot of tropical flowers underneath a lychee tree. Did a lot of research first and discovered that the roots will intermingle with the tree roots, but that the tree will take up water and nutrients first, and the other plants will just get what is left over. To deal with this problem I have been foliar feeding the plants under the tree, and it seems to have worked well.

Jul 04, 2009
Trees and Vegies
by: Les Boucher

I agree with the trees taking the largest portion of the food and water. While in some cases a particular type of tree may stop or slow the growing of "any thing" under their canopy (I'm thinking of pines here) the majority of the problem comes from the tree thinking that you are having a party every time that you feed or water it and that it is the trees birthday. They are VERY thirsty beasties and will suck an area dry if water and food isnt kept up to the area in question. I hope that this helps a little.
Les

PS: the security word that I have to type to enter this is "STRIFE" ....I couldnt think of a better explanation in a word....LOL

Aug 04, 2009
planting vegies under trees
by: bill t

Vegetables are a very fast growing species. they should be grown in their own patch well away from other competitors for food such as lawn,shrubs, TREES especially. They should be planted around 20cm to 30cm apart (10 to12 inches apart) for optimum results.
Cheers Bill T :)

Aug 05, 2009
I should have added....
by: Les Boucher

I should have added to my last post that, "the further away that you plant your vegie garden from trees the better.
As I said, otherwise every time that you water or feed your vegie patch the tree thinks it is its birthday ;-)

Aug 09, 2009
so many people planting near trees
by: bill t

Geraldine, your friend should not be planting anywhere near trees.Your vegetables are trying to compete with a plant which is already established,therefor apart from its sheer size compared to your seeds or seedlings its roots are just awaiting any menu your friend dishes up.The plants will also be denied sun light which they need for a minimum 6 hrs.Get as far away from the trees as possible if you can.
Cheers Bill T.

Jun 22, 2011
planting veggies near pine tree
by: BearGrillz

my only option is plant my vegetables pretty close to a pine tree, im ok with watering it extra and adding in more nutrients to make up for the loss to the tree, but how much more should i be adding? i dont want to drown them either.

Jun 23, 2011
Growing vegetables near pine trees
by: Megan

If you've got no other options for planting your veggie garden near pine trees, then let's see if we can help you. Horticultural experts and gardeners have proved it's a challenge, but there are ways and means...!

Acidity is the mail culprit, this comes from the pine needles that drop. You wont see plants, even grass growing close to pine trees where there are lots of needles. So don't let them form a big mat that decays away underneath, but gather them up and only use them sparingly in layers in the compost or around acid loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, spuds, lemons and blueberries. Even then, they don't like it too acicidic. A general rule is to aim for a neutral pH of 7 for most plants, and doing a simple soil test would be a good idea in your situation. You can send soil samples away to be tested or buy a home testing kit from garden or hardward shops.

Adding lime will make the soil more alkaline and is a good long term solution - just follow the instructions on the bag. Wood ash is also good, but do go carefully with all solutions because too much too soon can often harm micro-organisms and limit the ability of plants to take up certain necessary minerals.

If your garden gets enough sun and is beyond the drip line of the branches you should be fine. If the soil is difficult close to the trees, you could use raised gardens and fill with quality soil/compost to get going quickly.

By observation, only you will be able to determine the right choice of plants and amounts of nutrients and water to grow healthy plants by trees, there is no set formula for what to add extra, as all situations are different.

Keep a protective eye on your veggies and a wary eye on the big bullies! If your veggies are slow, leaves yellow, succumb to stress or disease, limp etc, then it's time for a remedy... trim off a pine branch, give more water or use drip irrigation, add more nutrients, mulch, compost, wind break, furrows for drainage... and so on.

Basically you can get any garden to thrive anywhere depending on the amount of time, energy and money you sow into it... so shall you reap!

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