The Q&A Archives: Growing Vegetables

Question: I have two large (different type) spruces near my garden that shade the area in late afternoon. I am thinking of pruning the lower branches upward to help get more light in that area and to discourage the rabbits that live there.
I would appreciate any tips or advice. Are there any vegetables or fruits that like or would do well in only about 7 to 8 hours of sun per day?

Answer: Pruning the lower branches from your spruce trees will open the area to greater light and air circulation. Just make the cuts as clean as possible, and don't leave stubs that will be prone to decay. There's a branch collar where each branch meets the trunk. It's a slightly raised or flared area. Cut the branches off just at the collar so the tree can close over and heal the wounds. Your veggie garden should be productive in 8 hours of direct sunlight. You'll have best results if you avoid long-season crops like melons and corn that demand more sunshine than you can provide. Instead, concentrate on leaf and root crops like lettuce, carrots, beets and radishes, plus tomatoes, beans, peas and strawberries.

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