TLL
Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:45 pm
Location: Victoria

Growing veggies under a cedar tree

We have a small garden plot beside our house where our raspberries grow, and there is a small area where I was going to plant a winter garden this year. It is beneath some branches of a very large cedar tree, but the tree itself is located in our raised front yard that borders this side yard garden patch. There is a three foot cement retaining wall dividing the front yard and the side yard.

I was thinking winter garden there because it doesn't get full sun, and the sun it does get for half the day in the summer is filtered through the cedar branches. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day who mentioned that cedar trees have destructive poisonous oils that prevent numerous things from growing beneath them - and my question is... would it be a hazard/unhealthy to grow veggies under this tree's branches, or is it just mearly a case of the fact that it might be more difficult to grow anything here? I've been amending the soil since the fall, and the results are showing already in a richer lighter soil.

Any advice would be helpful! :)
TLL

opabinia51
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Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Yes, I would concur with your friend. It may be a real hassel to try to grow vegetables under your cedar tree. Try looking under google for Cedar trees and Companion Vegetables to see if any vegetables will grow with Cedar trees.

I'll try to remember to look in Gaia's Garden tonight to see if there is anything said about the combination there. However, I don't remember of any vegetables that are grown in a cedar guild.

TLL
Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:45 pm
Location: Victoria

Thanks Opabinia. I will google and see what I find. My main concern is any potential health concerns with the soil/veggies and the cedar oils.

:)
TLL

TLL
Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:45 pm
Location: Victoria

Also Opabinia - another quick question for you... as a Victoria resident, do you know anyone who sells landscape ties that aren't pressure treated?? I've been searching, and can't seem to find anyone. We're digging another garden bed in our back yard, and am wanting to raise it using landscape ties if possible.

Thx!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Hi TLL,

Funny, I was just here to provide you with the information that I have researched for you..... as far as the landscape ties are concerned.... not pressure treated? You could try sleggs out in Sidney.

Do you know who would definately know the answer to that question? My old boss out at IOS in Sidney, go to the Institution of Sciences website or simply look them up in the phonebook (Blue Pages) and ask the commissionaire for KEVIN DOXEY's number at Grounds Maintenance. Kevin will definately know, he's worked in the landscaping and ground maintenance business for 20 + years.

So I looked up Cedar Guilds in Gaia's Garden and there are no guilds with cedars yet designed (at least not in that gardening bible) but it did say that it is wise to go out into nature and observe what edible plants grow naturally amongst our local Western Red Cedars (I snowberry, oregon Grape, salal are a couple) and then look up on the web to see what families of plants those are and plant plants from the same family around your cedar tree.

Also, cedars provide winter habitat for birds and area healthy addition to an ecological garden.

Really, what you want to do is build the soil up around the tree to make it hospitable for the plants so, plant some legumes and perhaps some vetch and Rye and mow the latter two (leaving the clipping right on the ground) to build the soil up a bit. (Do the mowing bit in the fall and lay down fallen maple leaves in the area as well with some manure (lots of cheap manure out in central saanich; 50 cents a bag).

I get horse manure from a little farm on the corner of Oldfield Rd. and Brookhaven, and there is a guy who sells horse manure on Old West Saanich Rd, as well as another guy who sells large bags of horse manure for $1 a bag across from Silver Rill Corn on.... (What is that? Central Saanich Road?)
Furthermore on Island View Rd at Firbank Farms (2 dollars for a dozen medium eggs) you can purchase free run chicken manure for 3 dollars per 50 lb bag. And I think that Michells at the corner of the same Rd and the Highway also sells manure. Both farms sell really cheap vegetables and have friendly staff that are very helpful.

(A little plug for a couple of our local farms there as well. Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I also called an old friend who has been in the nursery business for 60+ years and he told me that the plants that you plant around the tree are going to need lots of water and that tomatoes and other vegetables should be fine. As well, you can plant fruit trees (apple, pear, etc), flowering trees and so on around your cedar.

Cedars are not overly toxic and will not poison you if you eat vegetables that were grown in the soil. I have another book at home entitled (Traditional uses of plants of the Pacific NorthWest) with the toxicologies of the local plants and I can look that up for you as well.

TLL
Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:45 pm
Location: Victoria

WOW!! Thanks for all the info! Great to know about the cedar tree stuff, as well as great places to get horse manure. We also have a friend who has horse manure that has been rotting for a year, and is great for their garden. Good plug on the farms too :wink: its great to support our local growers!!

Reading your post I should probably clarify why I was looking for non-pressure treated ties.... and just flat out ask the question: is it a bad idea to use pressure treated landscape ties to edge a veggie garden? Will the chemicals they use for pressure treatment leach into the soil, and spoil the organic composition of that garden? Any ideas on how we could do it with landscape ties would be appreciated. :) We'll eventually be building a rock wall around the veggies, but I'd rather build the garden with something less permanent (the ties) just in case the light, size, etc. isn't quite right and we find we want to change it.

Thanks so much for all your help thus far!! 8)

TLL

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