A garden barely touched in 10 years- what to plant? (Pics)

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by taotu, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. taotu

    taotu Member

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    Hey guys- I'm looking for a lot of suggestions here- it might be quite the challenge, given the size and needs of what I'm planting, but I'm hoping it's an enjoyable challenge for all of you.

    My family's garden has not been used/planted/dug up/cared for, ignoring about a day (like- 24 hours) worth of effort on my part, clearing out 3 foot tall grasses and what I term 'the weeds of doom'. They're pictured, if anybody could identify them and tell me what sort of damage they could do to plants- the tulips have survived them okay, but I'm hesitant to plant anything in the beds they've infested.

    The soil in the garden seems to be great- there are worms as far down as 3 feet into the garden, in huge quantities- it breaks apart really easily, it's soft, and moist, but not wet, so I think I'm good there. I have plenty of compost that has been decomposing for years upon years now to use. The biggest problem in this garden is that it gets an awful lot of shade. A couple of trees have grown quite large and shade the garden (excluding the section outside the fence- pictured) through much of the summer and fall, until their leaves drop. I've posted pictures of them too, in case anybody has any suggestions on how to cope with them.

    I know these beds aren't prepared- I was hoping to get advice before I went through the work of digging them up and removing the plants- although the raspberries are going to stay. Any advice you could give me on digging them up and preparing them is also greatly appreciated.

    I'm hoping to plant things that are edible, as much as possible. Fruits and veggies, legumes, berries- all that good stuff. But I know most vegetables like a lot of sun, so I'm flexible. I'm also a super beginner at this, so if you could suggest things that are easily maintained, all the better.

    Enough ranting- on to the pictures! These pictures were taken at 4:50pm, April 23rd.

    EDIT: Something important I forgot to mention... I live in Vancouver, Canada!
     

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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There have been a few recent threads on plants for shady spots, have you browsed those first?

    You're to be congratulated for tackling this job -- looks like it'll take a fair bit of work, but it will be worthwhile.
     
  3. taotu

    taotu Member

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    I have browsed several of them, which have given me great ideas for what flowers I could plant, but like I say- I'm really looking to plant edible things.

    And thank you - I'm enjoying it so far, even though I see just how much work it's going to be!
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    We were actually talking about edible plants for shade at lunch a couple weeks ago. Some things that I recall coming up: Gaultheria shallon (native and edible), some blueberries, leafy green and salad green veggies, rhubarb -- see this article from Missouri extension as well as this listserv discussion from NAFEX.
     
  5. taotu

    taotu Member

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    Oh, that's great information, thanks! I'll have to keep an eye on exactly how much shade the garden's getting throughout the day.
     
  6. taotu

    taotu Member

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    Another question: When you say 'some blueberries', which varieties would those be, and where/when would I be able to find them?
     
  7. Jen P

    Jen P Member

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    Most blueberries will grow in this area - Richmond Nature Park, etc. are good examples of this. The last time I was in the Botanical Garden shop they had several varieties for sale, as did the local Art Knapps. One local one is Vaccinium ovalifolium, the oval-leafed blueberry.

    Also worth considering (check if conditions can match your area)
    Mahonia nervosa (Oregan grape)
    Vaccinium parvifolium (Red huckleberry)
     
  8. taotu

    taotu Member

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    Thanks for all your great advice- digging up the weeds and old growth has been really tough work but it looks like we'll be in shape to do planting this weekend. I bought a Dixi blueberry bush, some rhubarb, more raspberries, and gooseberries, so hopes are high. We're looking into getting a tree removed (see my other thread: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=51818 ) so we can grow things that like a little more sun- but this is a great start!
     
  9. Mr Greenthumb

    Mr Greenthumb Member

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    how is your garden coming?
     
  10. taotu

    taotu Member

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    Extremely well, I'm glad to say! We cut down a whole bunch of branches from a couple of the cedars in the back which let in a whole bunch more light. We've got a crop of tomato plants that are just starting to fruit, and a Japanese eggplant- those are all in pots. And then I managed to put a couple of vegetable patches in- I'll be sure to post pictures when they're all growing (Of course the radishes are huge already- wow those things are fast!) so you can see.

    It took a whole crew (friends volunteered their weekends to help dig through roots... some of which were even 6 inches thick!) to clear the land but it looks like it'll really pay off. Now I get to have my first adventures with garden pests... something's attacking the blueberries already!
     
  11. Mr Greenthumb

    Mr Greenthumb Member

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    I feel your pain of the pests. I am dealing with a nasty spider mite infestation. So far I am dealing with it naturally with several thousand lady bugs and destroyer Beatles. I do not want to use any kind of pesticide on my plants as I do not like to use artificial chemicals on any of my plants.
     

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