This is the time of year when you can easily visually see the effect that slavery has had on the species composition of our local forests. Flowering dogwood is in bloom. This understory tree, which is very common in most parts of its range, is few and far between in this part of upstate SC (Greenwood). As you go north of Greenville or south into the coastal plain, it becomes common again, but around here you can only spot an occasional solitary specimen or a small group of 2 to 4 and you can drive for miles through the woods without spotting one. By far, most of the flowering dogwoods around here are found growing in people’s yards.
When I first moved down here, noticed that the local forests were highly deficient in trees bearing fleshy fruit that are primarily distributed by birds (dogwood, magnolia, holly, black gum, black cherry, mistletoe). Most of the trees had either wind distributed seeds (maple, elm, tulip poplar, sweetgum, ash, redbud, pine), large seeds distributed by squirrels, (beech, oak, hickory, walnut), fleshy fruit that are eaten by birds, but is often distributed by wild mammals or livestock (persimmon, plum, honey locust, grape, blackberry, elderberry, red cedar).
The reasons behind this goes back to the history of this region. The virgin forests were clear cut to create cotton fields, then after 5 to 10 years when the soils had been depleted, the eroded land was abandoned to grow back up into forest. So the plants had to go through this bottleneck of getting their seeds from existing virgin forests across acres of cotton fields to the abandoned fields to start anew. Wind, squirrel, and mammal distributed seed had no problem doing this, but bird distributed seed had great difficulty making the jump.
In the plantations on the coastal plains, rivers, ponds, swamps, and marshes were common and most plantations were located along navigable rivers for ease in shipping their product. So the slaves could easily use their free time to find a body of water and go fishing to add high protein food to their diet to augment the bland grain diet provided by the slave owner. But when they were relocated to a plantation in the upstate where no ponds, swamps, or marshes existed and with the only a few rivers spaced far apart, a slave would be lucky to find a small creek to try to fish, so for most slaves, fish was unavailable. So they turned to another form of high protein food that could be easily caught using low tech methods, namely small birds using birdlime to trap them. Birdlime is a sticky substance that can be easily made using local materials that has been traditionally used by primitive societies throughout the world to catch small birds. The sticky birdlime is smeared on branches where small birds would alight, trapping them until they could be collected for the pot. Squirrels are hard to catch without shooting them and slaves wouldn’t be allowed to have a gun. The slave owners would be more likely to hunt larger game such as deer and turkey rather than the lowly squirrel, so squirrel populations would have remained healthy. So as the small bird population got thinned out by trapping, bird distributed seed wasn’t able to make the leap and get established in the newly established forests.
Today, small birds have made their comeback and are busily distributing seeds, but it will take some time for bird distributed plants to regain their normal populations in our local forests.
If you have problems with squirrels or other mammals eating your chicken feed, mix some gravel in with the feed. Chickens can peck around the gravel to get at the feed, whereas the larger mouthed mammals have great difficulty eating the feed because the gravel gets in the way.
Growing bamboo is a great way to provide cover for birds. It makes a great place for birds to roost overnight. The dense evergreen foliage hides them from predators and reduces their heat loss in cold weather. The flexible canes and branches with slick stems make it hard for land predators to climb up to them and the jiggling stems gives them plenty of warning that the predator is trying to reach them.
I have 100's to 1000's of blackbirds and grackles that overnight in my bamboo groves providing an aerial display every evening as they fly in at dusk (complete with red shouldered hawks and merlins working to intercept them on their way in) and the guano they leave behind fertilizes the bamboo groves and the surrounding land. During the day, cardinals and English sparrows use the groves as places to hang out.
There are a number of trees whose wood is so dense that it sinks in water. Many of these trees have a common name of "ironwood". In the southeast USA, Carpinus caroliniana (Carolina ironwood) holds this honor. Any wood that weighs more than 62 lbs per square foot will sink in water.
Since few seem to want to speculate on this, here are my thoughts on the matter. In the the lower latitudes during the day, the sun spends most of its time high in the sky so the light is coming from above most of the time. The best tree shape under these conditions is broad and relatively flat topped (think mimosa tree shape) with only enough height to keep above the tree competition. Conversely at the high latitudes where the sun spends most of its time near the horizon so the light is coming from the side all of the time, the best tree shape is tall and narrow (columnar), which is the shape seen in trees of the taiga forests. In the mid-latitudes the optimum tree shape is intermediate between these two.
Our temperate trees weren't always growing where we find them growing today. From the time that angiosperms first evolved over 100 million years ago during the Cretacious until about 8 million years ago, temperate trees were growing up near the arctic circle as part of the polar deciduous forest (the conifer and ginkgo lineage in that location goes back even further). Then, starting 8 million years ago, as the climate cooled down into the Ice Ages, these trees were pushed south into the mid-latitudes. As they moved south, their shape evolved away from the columnar shape most efficient at the high latitudes into the broader shape that works best at their new home in the mid-latitudes. But those ancient genes for a columnar shape are still there and it is relatively easy to pick them out of the mix when selecting for new cultivars.
There are also narrower cultivars of tropical and subtropical trees such as avocado and Virgnia live oak. These aren't columnar, but are narrower than their typically broad wild type shapes and are are typical for the shape of mid-latitude trees, ancient genes going back to when these trees were growing in the mid-latitudes over 8 million years ago. But tropical trees have never grown in a high latitude location where a columnar shape would be optimum and so have never evolved the genetics for it, hence the dearth of columnar tropical trees.
Interesting, while researching this, I came across papers about fossil dendrochronology showing that the trees growing in the polar forests during the Cretacious were about twice as productive as their modern taiga equivalents, no doubt due to a combination of warmer temperatures, longer growing season, and higher co2 levels at that time.
Maybe there's more of a demand for columnar temperate trees? Maybe the biology makes it harder to create a columnar tropical troee?
I can't see why there wouldn't be a demand for columnars in tropical landscaping and orchards. Columnar fruit trees makes it possible to shoehorn a bunch of different fruit trees into a small garden. Columnar trees are very useful in formal garden design.
What aspects of tropical tree biology would make the columnar shape difficult to select for when compared to temperate tree biology? I'm just trying to figure out why there is this disparity. There are literally 100's of columnar cultivars of temperate tree, but almost none for tropical trees.
So why is it that columnar cultivars are "dime a dozen" among temperate zone dicot trees and conifers, while being practically nonexistent among trees from the tropics? Among the tropicals, I could only find a single cultivar of Erythrina (Erythrina variegata 'Tropic Coral') that was columnar. In hibiscus, the temperate Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon) has several columnar cultivars, whereas the tropical Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, the common tropical hibiscus, which has 100's of cultivars, has none. Anyone care to speculate?
When growing trees native to temperate zones, practically every angiosperm or gymnosperm species that has multiple cultivars has at least one columnar cultivar. But columnar cultivars of trees native to tropical zones seem to be practically nonexistent, at least I can't find any. Even among popularly grown species with multiple cultivars such as avocado, cultivars described as "columnar" are still fairly broad, just not as broad as the non-"columnar" cultivars. There are none as narrow as a lombardy poplar or columnar apple or plum tree. Why is this?
Mike Turner wrote:Potatoes are a perennial vegetable here, producing 2 crops a year. They grow from March through June, then going dormant until September, then growing until first frost in November. Any tubers I miss or leave in the ground go on to grow in the next appropriate growing season.
That's great--I actually have volunteers coming back up in my area to. I debated making the case for them to be considered a perennial root vegetable and just decided to leave them out. But you make a good point about growing them in warmer areas. Do you move yours around? Just wondering if you ever have pest issues with them growing in the same spot for a longer time period. I hear conflicting views on that being an issue. Thanks for sharing!
No pest or late blight problems. My chickens take care of the potato beetles and my climate is too hot and dry for leaf blights. I'll move them every couple of years. The main problem with perennializing them is they tend to set the tubers higher in the soil with each season, so I have to mound them up a bit to keep all of the tubers underground. Also you have to identify the bad tasting "glassy" potatoes that sprouted and gave their all to produce the new crop, but they are usually easy to distinguish by their aged skins. Also potatoes left in the ground a few months before harvesting may have a few wireworm tunnels through them. Purple potatoes don't have the green skin when exposed to light problem that you have with red or brown skinned potatoes.
Potatoes are a perennial vegetable here, producing 2 crops a year. They grow from March through June, then going dormant until September, then growing until first frost in November. Any tubers I miss or leave in the ground go on to grow in the next appropriate growing season.
If you look at the earth's history since the Cambrian, compared to prehistoric norms, our current time has unusually low temperatures and CO2 levels. The only time that came close was the latter half of the Carboniferous through the first part of the Permian era. Through most of their evolution, plants were living in a world with ice-free polar regions and a CO2 level 3 to 4 times higher than the current levels and those are the CO2 levels that .they are best adapted for. The fall line along the east coast of North America is where the sea shore was located for the majority of the time since the Atlantic ocean was formed and it left its mark on the topography.
There was an entire plant community, the polar deciduous forest, that existed above the arctic circle in North America until the poles started freezing up about 8 million years ago. This plant community was populated with the tree species that are now found in the temperature zone.
With C3 and C4 photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2 and release O2 when they are exposed to light. There is the side reaction of photorespiration in C3 plants where plants absorb O2 and release CO2 that occurs when CO2 levels are low.
The only plants that absorb CO2 and release O2 at night are plants with crassulacian acid metabolism (CAM), C3 and C4 plants do this during the day.
The terms "light reaction" and "dark reaction" in photosynthesis can sometimes be confusing , thinking that light reactions occur during the day and dark reactions occur at night. Light reactions can occur whenever the plant is in light. Dark reactions don't require light to occur, all they require are the chemical products produced by the light reactions and, for most plants, occur alongside the light reactions when the plant is exposed to light.
O2 levels were below present day levels during the Cambrian era. The first O2 peak didn't occur until the Carboniferous era and a second lower peak occurred toward the end of the Cretacious.
Neither insects or land animals existed during the Cambrian era, insects first appeared during the Ordovician era, and the first land animals appeared during the Silurian era.
There has been no correlation between CO2 and O2 levels through the ages as there are factors in addition to plant and animal activity that effect their levels. CO2 is added by volcanic activity, especially the super eruptions that formed the Deccan and Siberian traps. CO2 is removed by newly exposed rock when new mountain ranges are formed. O2 is also removed by oxidation of newly exposed rock during mountain building sessions.
Not all of the carbon put into the soil by plants is respired by soil organisms, especially when deposited into anaerobic conditions. Coal and oil deposits are the result of this.
If you look at a graph of world CO2 levels and temperature from the Cambrian era to the present, you see little to no correlation between the two. But there a strong trend downwards in CO2 levels starting from 7000ppm in the Cambrian and dropping down to 180ppm during the Quaternary glaciation, the most recent downward excursion being 20,000 years ago. This drop in CO2 levels is to be expected since plants are busy pulling CO2 out of the air with the resultant fixed carbon being deposited into the ground and on the sea floor. A portion of this sea floor carbon gets subducted deep into the earth's interior via plate tectonics, becoming forever lost to the biosphere except for what little bits of it get released via volcanoes and mid-ocean hydrothermal vents. So the general long term trend is for atmospheric CO2 levels to drop as carbon gets pulled out of the air and put into the ground.
Angiosperms first appeared during the Cretaceous when CO2 levels were in the 1700 to 1800ppm range and have had to adapt to steadily dropping CO2 levels from that time forward. C3 photosynthesis is the original chemical pathway that evolved in algae during the Precambrian era and is found in all sea plants and most land plants. But 7 million years ago some groups of monocots and dicots evolved C4 photosynthesis in response to the extremely low CO2 levels they were experiencing during the Quaternary period. A drawback of C4 is that it works best at hot tropical temperatures, limiting its use in the cooler parts of the globe, so 85% of the world's plants are still C3.
If you look at a curve of plant growth rate vs. CO2 levels, it rises sharply with increasing CO2 levels until CO2 levels reach 1200ppm where the growth rate starts to level off. This increased growth rate at higher than current atmospheric CO2 levels has long been known to commercial greenhouse growers, many of whom use CO2 generators to maintain a CO2 level in the greenhouse of between 1000 and 1500ppm. At these higher CO2 levels, plants grow faster, have higher yields, produce larger, thicker leaves, larger flowers, require less water, and are more resistant to environmental stresses. Leaves grown at these higher CO2 levels produce fewer stomata and have to open them less to obtain the required CO2, increasing their drought tolerance.
Photorespiration, an inefficiency in the photosynthetic process where the enzyme RuBisCO reacts with 02 rather than the desired CO2, disappears at 1200ppm, but gets worse and worse as CO2 levels drop below that point, and is apparently as artifact of low CO2 levels. C4 photosynthesis minimizes losses due to photorespiration.
At the other end of the scale, growth and seed production in C3 plants drops off rapidly at lower than current CO2 levels. An Arabidopsis growing at 180ppm, the lowest CO2 levels experienced during the last ice age, had only 8% of the growth rate of the same plant growing at current CO2 levels. Below 150ppm, C3 plants essentially stop growing, so the 180ppm lows during the Quaternary glaciation came within spitting distance of killing off many C3 plants.
CO2 levels were 180ppm st the peak of the ice age, slowly rose to 270ppm as we came out of the ice age, then continued rising as human activity added CO2 to the atmosphere and is over 400ppm now. This boost in CO2 levels has goosed plant growth rates and is part of the oomph behind the increase in crop yields helping to feed the growing human populations. Satellite images are showing an 11% increase in foliage cover in arid regions around the world from 1982 to 2010. The spread in the seasonal cycle in CO2 levels monitored at Moana Kea observatory increased from 14ppm in 1975 to 17ppm in 2013 as worldwide plant photosynthetic activity is ramping up with rising CO2 levels.
So it looks like plants are best adapted to growing in the mid-1000's ppm CO2 atmosphere they originally evolved in, are showing reduced growth rates/seed production and displaying metabolic derangements like photorespiration in our modern CO2 impoverished atmosphere. So while some humans might be concerned about rising CO2 levels, the plants are saying "bring it on, we're half starved out here".
Flower pollinating birds found outside of the tropics is unique to the New World. Sunbirds, the hummingbird's counterpart in Africa and Asia, are native to tropical regions and don't migrate into the temperate zones during the summer, unlike hummingbirds that range north to Alaska and south to Tierra del Fuego during their respective summers.
Sunbirds have bright, jewel-like colors, but aren't as good at hovering as hummingbirds, so flowers that are primarily pollinated by them often include a built-in perch into their flower structure. A good example is the bird of paradise flower (Strelitzia) where the "beak" of the flower provides a perch for the sunbird to perch while it probes for nectar in the orange flowers that form the "bird's crest".
Despite being a native of Asia and not having evolved with the hummingbird, the mimosa tree is one of the best hummingbird food sources that can be grown in upstate SC, providing two and a half months of continuous bloom from June to August during which time the tree is alive with hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and pollinating flies.
My ducks have been very effective at controlling deerflies and horseflies on my property. Not by eating the adults, but rather by their feeding activities along the margins of my 2 acre pond and in various boggy areas where their feeding activities target deerfly and horsefly larvae that live in mud and shallow water. When I first moved here, during deerfly season (May) I would typically have 2 to 3 flies buzzing around my head whenever I was outside. Within 2 years after getting 14 ducks, deerfly populations have dropped to where I see less than 5 of them during the entire season. Horsefly populations in late summer have also dropped to where I only see 1 or 2 during their season.
The duck's feeding activities have changed the profile of the pond's shoreline. Where there used to be a constant slope entering the water where it becomes a mud floor sloping away into deeper water, there is now a mini 1 foot high cliff with the several inches of water at its base. The duck's mud filtering dabbling feeding activity has removed the loose mud in the shallows and into the bank along with any fly larvae living in it.
I find wheelbarrows much more durable than those 4 wheel carts. The carts only last for 3 to 5 years before handle hinges and steering linkages start to wear out and fail. I've gone through several of these carts whereas I have wheelbarrows bought in the 1980's that are still in service. The only failures I've had on wheelbarrows is their tire rubber starts to crack and leak after a decade of use, necessitating the installation of an inner tube and sometimes the bucket rusts out holes necessitating the use of jb weld to patch them up.
I find the honeybee is a closer match than our native pollinators for pollinating early blooming fruit trees of eurasian origin. Compared to North America, Eurasia has many more plants (peaches, plum, apricots, magnolias, forsythia, daffodils, tulips, dandelions, henbit, etc.) that bloom very early in the season, at the time when most or all of our native pollinators are still in winter dormancy. The vast majority of our "bloom before leafing out" plants come from Eurasia. Honeybees form a perennial colony that starts to build up its population in mid-winter (February) and so is in a position to pollinate the plethora of very early blooming flowers, having had evolved along with them to service them.
Here in upstate SC, my peaches, plums, and apricots (and dandelions) have been blooming for the past 2 weeks with only honeybees visiting them, until just today I saw my first carpenter bee, the first of the native pollinators to appear.
Bumblebees are practically useless for pollinating these very early blooms since there are only the few overwintering queens around and they won't start to show up in large numbers until late spring, great for pollinating the summer vegetable garden, but not the early stone fruits.
Many of our native pollinators also have a limited season of activity when the adult solitary bees or wasps are stocking their nests, then they die off, leaving their offspring developing in their nest to produce next year's adults. Carpenter bees are active pollinating flowers March through May, then are absent through summer until a few start to show up in the fall. Bumblebees are the best native for continuity through the growing season, but are only available in small numbers to pollinate the very early flowers and no match for the perennial honeybee colony that can fly and pollinate flowers anytime throughout the year when temperatures are high enough for them to fly.
I use bamboo as a winter forage after my sheep have eaten down the stockpiled Bermuda, bahia, and fescue in the pastures, thinning out the groves by cutting a dozen or so canes each day for the remainder of the winter until the grass comes back in March. During the rest of the year, the bamboo provides wandering shoots in April and shade except for when they are fenced out of the groves during the shooting season.
Keep the cow in a smallish pen set up within the pasture where it and the dogs will stay so the dogs can wander around the pen to give the animals time to become accustomed to each other. When the dogs and cow can approach the fence and touch noses through the fence without getting excited, they can share the same pasture. Since a cow's basic instinct is to attack a strange dog, they have to be kept togather long enough for the dog to no longer be strange to the cow. It helps a lot if you have other cattle or sheep that are used to the dogs and don't react negatively to it.
Mike Turner wrote:Steve Thorn,
Apple trees grow fine and bloom here, but the summer heat and drought results in them producing small, tart fruit that is suitable for pies, but not that good for fresh eating. Assuming you can beat the squirrels to them.
Yeah, who new squirrels were such good apple thiefs!
One year I had a tree full of apples, and on the way out of the driveway I saw one feasting in the top of the tree. When I looked at it later, not a single one was left!
Apple trees grow fine and bloom here, but the summer heat and drought results in them producing small, tart fruit that is suitable for pies, but not that good for fresh eating. Assuming you can beat the squirrels to them.
The oldest plant suckered after its first fruit and has now formed a clump the way it would if it were growing in the wild. In pineapple plantations they plant out single slips or divisions so the resulting plant produces a single large fruit for market and so the entire field matures its fruit at about the same time for harvest. But I don't care if the plant produces a number of smaller fruit which are maturing over a longer time period. Instead of one big fruit produced by the plant each year, I get several slightly smaller fruit maturing every few weeks or so. I'll probably divide my oldest plant this spring when I plant them out in the garden, letting them go for about 3 or 4 years before dividing them back into single plants.
That's large enough for a starter plant, but not big enough for a mature sized plant. I plant my pineapples in the groud for the summer, then in the fall, pot them up to overwinter in the greenhouse. When I lift them, I knock off any loose soil and then squeeze them into whatever size pot the remaining rootball will fit, knowing that the plant won't do much growing for most of the winter, but will mature existing fruit. My largest plants are 4 feet wide and overwinter in a 2 ft wide, 1 foot high pot. A plant this size can have 7 fruit on it at various stages of maturity.
What crops are you growing in your garden that are unusual for your region. These would be crops that are easy to grow, but for some reason aren't commonly grown or practical crops that can be grown by giving them just a little bit of help.
For me here in upstate SC., they include Camellia sinensis tea and yaupon tea. I don't know why people in zone 8 regions of the southeast have been going to China for tea for the past couple of centuries when the plant grows perfectly fine here in the southeast and is simple to process for green tea.
Yaupon tea is made from a holly native to the southeast's coastal plain and was a popular drink for the native Americans in the region. It is North America's counterpart to South America's mate tea. Yaupon's small leaves are more labor intensive to collect than the larger leaves of mate or camellia tea.
Another crop I am growing that is ridiculously easy to grow and does well in zone 7 and warmer locations in the Southeast is water chestnut. It is simple to grow in tubs of shallow water, thrives in the summer heat and is pest free. I harvest them as needed from the tubs all winter and leave a few unharvested corms to produce next summer's crop. I've been growing them in the same tubs for years, just top dressing with a bit of manure in late winter.
Yacon is another crop that isn't commonly grown in my region that has produced well for me.
My most unusual garden crop are pineapples. I plant Sugar Loaf plants out in the garden all summer, then pot them up to spend the winter in my greenhouse that is only heated enough to be frost free. Pineapple is drought resistant, does fine in the summer heat, is pest free, with a minimal root system that makes it easy to shoehorn into tiny pots for the winter. They produce year around, maturing fruit both in the garden in summer and in the greenhouse in the winter and produce a fruit that I can pick at its full yellow ripeness, unlike the green pineapples sold in grocery stores.
I'm in upstate South Carolina, Koppen zone humid subtropical, USDA cold zone 8a, AHS heat zone 8.
Peaches and plums grow well and self seed readily. Limiting factors are susceptibility to late frosts and pest/diseases such as plum curculio and brown rot. A wild plum is native. Persimmons (American and Asian) grow well with no limiting factors. American persimmon is native and common. Pears (European and Asian) grow well, but fire blight is present, so use fire blight resistant cultivars. Apples grow well, but our summer heat, drought, and diseases limit fruit quality, they are small and tart. Sweet and sour cherry trees do not grow well in our heat, even though a wild relative, the black cherry (Prunus serotina) is native. Apricots, pluots, and other stone fruits will grow, but are highly susceptible to late frosts, so you will rarely get a crop. Jujube grows well, but set fruit poorly most years (don't have the right pollinators present?). Figs grow and fruit well, although an occasional cold winter will kill them back to their roots. Trifoliate hybrid citrus (citrange, citrumelo) grow well and are only susceptible to late frosts.
Mulberries grow well and red mulberry is native.
Grapes (muscadine and northern) grow well with no limiting factors on muscadine. Northern grapes are susceptible to Pierce's disease which will kill them after a number of years of good yields. Muscadine self seeds and is native. Fuzzy kiwi will grow, but will be top killed by an occasional cold winter. Arguta kiwis will grow, but are limited by our summer heat and drought. Both kiwis are susceptible to late frosts. Bramble fruit will grow, but our heat and drought stress the plants and limit fruit quality. Blackberries do better than raspberries. There are native brambles, but have small and tart fruit. June bearing strawberries grow and fruit well, our summer heat limits everbearer fruit production. Strawberries will self seed. Blueberries grow and fruit well, are pest free, and are native.
That Plant maps site has AHS heat maps for each state, but doesn't list them on their home page. Google "AHS heat map" and your state name to find them on their site.
I use a combination of shovels when digging. First, a 5 long long, all-metal, narrow blade transplanting shovel to break up the hard soil. This shovel has a lot of mass and can literally throw it vertically into the ground, then, if needed, jump up and down on the foot pegs to drive it even deeper, followed by pulling down on the long handle to pry up a chunk of soil. Once a bunch of soil has been loosened up, I use a long handled, round nose shovel to remove the loose soil. Then, if I need to make a flat floor to the hole, I'll use a straight edge shovel to finish up. Maintaining a very sharp cutting edge is key to ease of penetrating hard soil. Since I am using the enertia of the shovel to do much of the soil loosening, I don't use any special hardened shoes to do the job.
Its likely that the breed of chicken, stocking rate, and the presence of wild edible plants outside the garden has an effect what crops they damage. Possibly also the cultivar could have an effect. The only winter squash I'm growing is Seminole. The problem I had with carrots and parsnips is the chickens would scratch up the seed bed during the 2 weeks it takes for the seeds to germinate. My chickens are welsummer, barred rock, brahma, austrolorp, and favorelles.
Chickens can be very useful in the garden, eating bugs and scratching up small weeds. But they can also be very destructive, pecking, nibbling, and scratching up the very plants you are trying to grow unless they are behind protection. I've been running chickens free range in my garden for 8 years and, from my own experience, the following are lists of vegetables and their susceptibility to chicken damage.
Totally safe with chickens, only occasional trampling or scratching up of new transplants or seedlings:
Winter and summer squash
Melons (bury seeds well, will eat seeds if they can see them)
Pole and bush beans
Yard long beans
Not safe with chickens, like to eat leaves, fruit, or seeds easily scratched up:
Collards, cabbage, all Cole crops
Tomatoes (only the fruit, they don't bother the leaves, trellis to get the fruit above chicken height)
Corn (seedlings, but not large plants)
Another thing in addition to length of growing season and climate that can limit what vegetables you can grow are the local pests and diseases. Here in upstate SC, squash bugs make it practically impossible to grow any of the maxima or pepo winter squashes, since they all die before even getting close to maturing fruit, limiting me to just the moschata and mixta squashes. There is also a leaf miner that riddles the leaves of any wild or domestic purslane, killing them (needless to say, purslane is not a weed that can be found growing around here). Also flea beetles make it useless to try to grow the leafy amaranthes or komatsuna during the summer. Komatsuna makes a great winter crop when the beetles aren't active. My local "soft rock when dry" soils make it difficult for any burrowing mammals to make a living around here, but in my previous location in western NC, voles made it difficult to grow carrots and other root crops.
Here in upstate SC, fava beans make a great manure crop, but our hot spring weather makes the bean crop very iffy. Likewise scarlet runner beans produce lots of flowers, but few beans. The hot summers kill beets and cole crops, limiting their use to the cooler portions of the year.
I don't think the mychorrhozal fungi situation is all that species sensitive. There are several large coast redwoods growing in Abbeville, South Carolina that were planted before the Civil War that are the largest and tallest trees in town (height limited by lightning). They would have arrived as seed. Our only native conifers are two species of pine and one juniper. There is one species of alder, but it is a small, shrubby plant growing along creeks and unlikely to be found growing up on the ridge where the town is located.
Maybe some Florida gardeners can chime in, but I'm wondering how much of a problem slugs and snails are in Florida vegetable gardens. When I was living there in the 60's and 70's in Orlando, I don't recall seeing very many slugs or snails except for the apple snails in the rivers. I wasn't vegetable gardening, but was studying botany and visited a lot of different plant communities. The sharp sandy soil isn't conducive for their travels, the predatory rosy wolf snail is native there, the hot summers aren't favorable for their activities (I've read that some of native slug species are fairly inactive during the summer). The common grey garden slugs that are so common throughout much of the eastern US aren't found in Florida because they can't tolerate the hot summers there.
In the life cycle of this parasite, the adult worms (2 cm long) live in the pulmonary artery of rodents in the lungs. Eggs are released into the lungs, are passed up to the pharynx, then swallowed and pass out in the feces. The eggs hatch into larvae that eaten or can penetrate (like hookworm larvae) the intermediate host (slug, snail, etc.) which is then eaten by the final host. In a rodent it passes into the bloodstream in the intestines, moves to the brain where it matures into its adult form, then moves to the pulmonary artery where it mates and spends the rest of its life. In a non-rodent host it moves to the brain and eventually dies after a month or two. It gets about 12 mm long while it is in the brain. It is closely related to the canine heartworm which also lives in the bloodstream.
The tree is coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and it may grow fine in Sweden in locations that aren't too cold (USDA zone 7) since there are a number of them growing in Scotland and Germany. The site monumentaltrees.com lists where specimens are growing worldwide. They grow best in locations with lots of rain and a high humidity.
It's a nematode (roundworm), so ivermectin will kill it.
In the southeast, only Florida has done a thorough survey for its presence by sampling rodents. They found it present in every single county in the state. In other states its has only been detected by people coming getting sick from it. In Louisiana, it was some guy eating a live treefrog.
I've been allowing my chickens and ducks free range through my vegetable garden and the rest of the property for years, only fencing them out of the beds growing crops that they like to eat. They also don't have access to the inside of the hoophouses. The fenced beds are only 2 to 3 feet wide and 30 feet long so the pests they can't reach have only a short distance to travel to become chicken food. I was doing this to control, crickets, grasshoppers, earwigs, sowbugs, squash bugs, and any of the other usual garden pests, but now with the lungworm likely present, slug control (our acidic soil means we have very few snails) takes a much higher precedence than it used to.
Fortunately the needle ants moved in about the same time as the likely lungworm presence. They can access all parts of the garden including the fenced beds and the hoop houses and have been very effective at crashing the slug populations, almost eliminating the small grey slugs from the outdoor beds. There is a larger 3 inch long yellowish slug whose numbers have increased somewhat this summer, no doubt due to the removal of its grey competition. It's too large for the needle ants to take on, but I'm not seeing any of its babies around, so the ants are likely eating its eggs and/or hatchlings, so the numbers of this slug should diminish as the large adults die off or get eaten. In the hoophouses, the needle ants cleaned out all of the fire ant colonies that were previously in residence and are providing good slug control. This time of year when the needle ants are mostly inactive due to the winter temperatures, my slug surveys are turning up mostly new hatched grey slugs less than 1/4 inch long and very few adults, these all likely have hatched since the ants went dormant and should disappear in spring when the become active again. Slugs are active at lower temperatures than the ants.
I've stopped growing savoyed and other frilly leaved greens that are harder to wash and provide lots of hiding places for slugs to lurk. Also eating fewer raw vegetables than I used to and stopped drinking from garden hoses.
I've been wondering what effect the lungworm presence is having on the wild animal population, especially those that commonly feed on slugs or frogs. I've read where in Australia they've been following the spread of the lungworm by monitoring its effects on the native wildlife, namely birds and possums. Also, since it is found in freshwater shrimp and freshwater crabs, is it also in crayfish (freshwater lobsters), in which case the raccoon population is at risk.
Just a heads up. This asian parasitic worm has arrived on the U. S. mainland and is now documented throughout Florida, and also in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee. No doubt it was spread much further throughout the southeast, but hasn't yet been searched out and documented. It's been present in Hawaii and Australia for a couple of decades.
Its normal host are rodents where it doesn't usually cause any problems, but when it gets into a non-rodent host, then there are problems. In humans, it causes a type of meningitis with symptoms including severe headache, stiff neck, fever, nausea, vomiting, paralysis, and has the potential to be lethal. Intermediate hosts for this parasite include slugs, snails, frogs, and freshwater shrimp. If you accidentally or deliberately eat one of these raw or undercooked, then you can pick up the parasite. In Australia, a teenager who ate a slug on a dare fell into a coma for over a year, then awoke from it totally paralyzed and died 8 years later. Most cases aren't this severe, but the potential is there. Most infestations cause headaches, fever, nausea, which first appear a couple of weeks after exposure and can last for several months. It also causes problems in dogs, horses, birds, and has killed a couple of primates at the Miami zoo.
Our main potential exposure is in the home vegetable garden where there is the possibility of missing a slug when washing lettuce or other raw greens for salads, especially those with savoyed or frilly leaves. In asian traditional cooking, all greens are cooked, probably for this reason.
Fortunately in my garden, the asian needle ant has arrived which, in addition to wiping out fire ants in locations where the needle ants are present, has also been killing those small gray garden slugs whose populations have crashed since the arrival of the ant.
Look up the term "inosculation", which means stems that can naturally graft together when they are in contact with each other. Trees that will do this have a thin bark that is easily abraded when they rub together, exposing their cambium layers, which can then fuse together. Most of the time they must be of the same species. Tree species that will do this include, of course, the Ficus trees shown at the start of this thread. Temparate zone trees that will do this include willow, sycamore (Platanus), beech, chestnut, maple, linden, elm, ash, olive.apple, pear, and peach. Vines include grape and wisteria. These are the plants you need to seek out when planning to create living wood structures.