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Hello Guys,
You’re all such resourceful people that I’m sure someone can help me with my allotment planning.
Last year I was offered an allotment which was three quarters under the canopy of an oak tree and deep in weed seeds from several years of neglect. I converted it to no dig and grew an average crop of veg hindered by being in shade for a lot of the day, a continual rain of ‘debris’ (twigs/leaves etc) from the tree and being in the ‘splash zone’ of pigeons perched there.
I am now moving to the adjacent plot which is only a third under an (different, bigger) oak tree and gets more sun. Due to time constraints and having to transfer the beds/compost from next door I haven’t got very far. While unmaking the beds I couldn’t believe the amount of infiltration by oak tree roots (photos attached) in beds that had been down for less than six months! This is what is concerning me about the new allotment. Probably at least half the plot is going to have oak roots under. Would I be better digging this part every couple of years to break the roots up?? Or would they happily co-exist with something?
My main query is that the plot is not huge, about 28’ x 40’, with the tree located to the north-west. The other oak tree is to the east so the plot is shaded for some of the morning too. As well as veg beds I would like to grow gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, rhubarb and asparagus, with maybe a couple of apples (cordon) around the perimeter. My gooseberries are on my original plot, waiting to become dormant to transplant. They are mostly dessert varieties and I was intending to plant them as cordons to the south side of the plot so they didn’t cast too much shade. My query is what to plant where as some of it will have to be in the shadier area, probably trying to compete with increasing oak roots. I would also like to try to put a small greenhouse and cold frames on the plot which I think will have to be outside the tree canopy (oaks drop lots of twigs/branchlets), so they would also cast shade.
Would I be better off maybe just trying to grow something like phacelia/buckwheat in the root zone that I could make compost with when it’s finished flowering?
Sorry this is so long. Thanks for bearing with me.
Jan