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What Do I Need to Know About Planting Under Trees?

From Ecology Action

Question:  What do I need to be aware of if I want to maximize my garden space by planting under trees?The Jeavons Center mini-farm, which has many trees surrounding it. Photo credit - Cynthia Raiser Jeavons

Answer: Light and soil are major factors to consider when planting under trees. Excessive shade increases insects and disease. Most plants need a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight to grow; anything less is an experiment. Most plants grow much better with 7-11 hours of sunlight.

Please refer to page 103 in the 2017 copy of 'How to Grow More Vegetables' that discusses what to grow during what season. To experiment in the cool season with crops under trees, start with beets and end with turnips; during other seasons start with beets and end with peas, never potatoes. The other factor that comes into play when growing under trees is soil preparation. This can be tricky due to the tree's root system.

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