In response to several members’ concern for how shade limits their ability to grow vegetables, a survey of shade in the gardens was conducted in 2015. The results of the OCGC Shade Survey were used to adjust plot fees for the 2016 season. The image above shows the summary results of the survey; the full results of the OCGC Shade Survey are available in pdf format.
The survey was conducted by visiting the gardens at 10:00am, 1:00pm and 4:00pm on May 29 and August 7, and sketching on a map of the plots where shade was present. A survey visit was planned for July 1, or thereabouts, but that visit was not conducted. Sketches were digitized and combined to show results for each day and the two days together (as in the image above). Three areas of specific concern are:
- The ash tree on the west side, which casts significant shade on plots 1, 1A, 1B, 2B, 2C and 4; this tree is a TTC responsibility, has not been pruned to date (is healthy and not slated for pruning), and will continue to grow in size.
- The apple tree in plot #10, which casts significant shade on plots 10, 10B, 11, 12 and 13; this tree continues to be pruned to maintain openness and height appropriate for fruit production and is not expected to be a greater or lesser concern in the near future, although it keeps plot #11 and half of plot #12 in heavy shade for most of the day.
- The trees along the split-rail fence on the east side, which cast significant shade on plots 24, 30, 31, 38 and 39; the elm trees behind plot #24 will be an on-going problem for plots 24 and 30; the tree behind plot #39 will be a growing concern (pun intended) for plots 38 and 39; the apple tree beside plot 38 renders that plot practically useless for gardening. There is also a significant amount of shade cast in the morning by a large ash tree on the margins of the sun garden (the perennial bed on the east side) but that shade is only in the morning and should not be considered as having a significant effect on gardening in members’ plots.
In addition to shade, it should be kept in mind that gardens in the vicinity of trees, and in particular those at the back where there are elm and ash trees, both of which have wide-spreading, shallow roots systems, will be affected by tree roots seeking the improved moisture and fertility of garden beds.