Jaimee Gleisner wrote:Um, yeah, I just popped over to the fungi forum and spores, plugs, inoculation, humidifiers, gloveboxes, cloning.... too much for at this stage in my gardening career! Maybe in a couple years...
Judith Browning wrote:Shiitakes are grown on freshly cut oak logs , holes are drilled and pre innoculated wooden plugs pounded in. checkout Field and Forest Products catalog on line. All you need is the logs, shade , water occasionally and they will produce periodically for a few years. They can be grown in small amounts on a few logs and if you have an abundance they are even more nutritious dried. We waited years to try growing them and when we finally did couldn't believe how simple the process was.
but after searching around on the internet I'm seeing that most plants require at least a few hours of sun a day.
Rose Pinder wrote:What is your climate like?
Fortunately plants don't read the internet Have a look around where you live. What kinds of plants grow well in the shade? What are the other conditions where they are growing? Think about what grows in a forest in your climate/area.
There's a good list of shade tolerant plants here https://permies.com/t/10302/plants/Shade-Tolerant-Edibles
frank larue wrote:
but perhaps more important that your edible plants are the support species. these will provide your green mulches, your compost materials, attract your beneficial predators and pollinators, mine nutrients, and feed your soil critters. mycorrhizae are keystone species and will determine whether the aforementioned plants and fungi produce well or not....
leila hamaya wrote:
frank larue wrote:
if you care to elaborate on some good plants for this, i would be curious to hear.
i think these kinds of plants are what i most need to add to my gardens...i have some, and lots of different fungi, worms, pollinators, bugs of all flavors...but i feel this is what i am most needing to add. and low growing - ground cover plants. i have alot of tall ones.
i love the support plants too, they're under-appreciated too often. if you want a full-season buzz it's important to have plants with various types of flowers at all times. keep in mind that some critters won't arrive until the following spring. many are prepping to overwinter or procreate. some spiders, when they hatch, hitch rides on the wind until they land in a suitable place. expect to find populations and diversity to increase over the years. shallow, open flowers allow the jaws of the pest predators to access the nectar while they hunt for the herbivores. often flower pads like yarrow, queen anne's lace, dill and relatives structurally support our allies. if you have the light, miners like mullein and comfrey will bring plenty of material to the surface. the mullein will die back when succession becomes established but they are great plants to have around. i use horseradishes to build soil as they have those big beautiful leaves to offer every fall. rotting logs that are well-decomposed will house tons of creatures too.
i would recommend you get your hands on the second volume of edible forest gardens. the appendix will give you dozens of options and is an excellent reference. i couldn't find a copy in a library, and no friends had one to borrow. a bit back i fetched it for about 40 dollars but i suspect it has gone up considerably.
some understory options could be (edibles and habitat)
wood vetch (vicia caroliniana) and wintergreen (gaultheria procumbens) will provide groundcover and enrich the soil, as they are mineral accumulators. i've seen the latter occupy shaded areas under high-bush blueberry thickets very well and will accumulate key minerals, and you can eat the latter's berries through the winter. there is also fuki (petasites japonica), which loves shade, produces lots of food, needs no coddling, and provides a moist cool groundcover for your soil. this plant is extremely well-adapted and can take over places however. i treat it like i do the sunchokes, eat them for maintenance!
as was added by others, you have a great many ferns available to grow, some edible, others simply habitat for the little creatures. you inquired into means of bringing critters into the space. it sounds like you already have suitable habitat for foragers to frequent the space. if you have access to logs and thick branches of all degrees of decomposition is an excellent way to bring in habitat. i use log cuts where knots are (with some of the branch and mast) and rocks to encourage spider webbing. it doesn't take long for them to take up residence. leaf mulch will encourage the prowling spiders too, as will fuki mulch. my suspicion is that your soil wants to go fungal over bacterial, as an understory to a tree. lignin-rich materials will encourage this development and the appropriate animals and microbes will come along.
if you are considering grafting the pear tree, then you are talking about more light during that period. i am not experienced with grafting, but i've seen cuts that involve attaching scions to coppiced trees. im interested to hear others' input on this!
as far as building soil that will suffocate your tree, yes, you do not want material to cover the tree bark, which needs to breathe. raised beds can be assembled (i prefer logs and stones) so that you can raise the soil level where you are planting without risk of damaging the pear. if there is a contour that falls away from the tree then this job is much easier. below is a link to some terrace "containers" my partner and i made. as wood rots down, more can be put in, or new beds can be made outward.
if you are going to be planting out in a space, it's best to come up with the paths before any work is done. this is often harder than it seems, but compaction is a serious problem in a lot of gardens.