John Elliott wrote:Loofah. Yes, those bath sponges come from a vine that does very well climbing up pine trees. Sometimes you see the seeds sold as 'Chinese okra'. If you harvest the fruits when they are okra sized, they do have the crunch and the texture of okra, but the taste is kind of a cross between a cucumber and dish soap. I never had enough patience to figure out how to purge them of the soapy taste, so I just let them mature and used them for bath sponges.
Cool I actually planned on trying to grow some this year and have one ready to be planted outside as soon as it stays warm enough. I think I will plant it at his house and a few more seeds under the pines. It will at least be fun for my granddaughter to grow her own sponges.
I wonder if prickly pear cactus would do on in zone 6. I need to do a little research. Thanks
- i'm not sure whether other plants are pushed off by the Thyme or by the Pines!!
Certain other geophytes grow here under pines as well: Daffodil, Cyclame, and others that I don't remember.
I think that main problems with Pines are that 1) secrete certain substance that prevents sprouting, and 2) they block the light (like any other forest)
so I THINK that if a plant had been sprouted elsewhere, or before the pine grove was planted, then certain kinds will succeed.
Also, specific kind of edible mushrooms, but only after certain rain and climate conditions.
I was reading here that also rare kinds of orchids can grow under pines - but I never paid attention to these
(sorry - hebrew text - you can try using google-translate: Myths and realities of pine trees (Hebrew) )
I wonder if prickly pear cactus would do on in zone 6. I need to do a little research.
There are many, many species of Opuntia, so there are probably some that do well in zone 6 and in shade. That said, the type grown and sold in Mexico as 'nopal' is usually in full sun and doesn't have to put up with anything colder than zone 9. I would also think that there has been some selective propagation going on with the type that is farmed in Mexico and just any old Opuntia that you find growing wild could have some off-putting tastes. I have noticed that while the fruit of most wild Opuntia are sweet and tasty, the cladodes (paddles) can have bitter or astringent elements to them.
Best thing to try would be to get some food grade cladodes from the local Hispanic grocery store and stick them in the ground and water them. You'll find out next winter whether they can take the cold. The way that climate zones are migrating north (global warming), you may soon be living in a zone where they do just fine. It's also one crop that is definitely drought tolerant.
In general herbs and root vegetables will do better in shade than most plants.......I plant herbs in the shadiest parts and carrots and potatoes in places of partial shade. They seem to do alright.
You could also put nitrogen fixing plants in just to help feed the soil
Here are pine understory polyculture plants: there are a lot more and especially if you are in warmer zones than MN...You could also search in Plants for a Future Database for shady, acidic and dry soils. I haven't planted it myself but a Lingonberry too, if you can get more sun and water to the site.
Rhododendron Rhododendron PJM
Cinnimon Fern Osmunda cinnamomea
Sensitive Fern Onoclea sensibilis
Ostrich Fern Matteuccia struthiopteris
Yew 'Emerald Spreader' Taxus cuspidata 'Monloo'
Currant Ribes 'Redlake'
Blueberry northblue Vaccinium 'Northblue'
Blueberry northcountry Vaccinium 'Northcountyr'
Bunchberry Cornus canadensis
Gooseberry Ribes missouriensis
Maidenhair Fern Adiantum pedatum
Wild Ginger Asarum canadense
Bleeding Heart Dicentra spectabilis
Forget-Me-Not Jack-Frost false forget-me-not
Rue Anemonie Anemone thalictoides
Starflower Trientalis borealis
Wintergreen Gautheria procumbens
Baneberry Actea pachypoda
Redbud Northern Tree Cercis canadensis
Speckled Alder Alnus rugosa
Opuntia humifusa, which Chrissy probably has growing under pines in her area is very cold hardy if sourced from the northern end of it's range, same with O. macrorhiza. They can both have decent little fruits, it just depends on the individual plant. I have an O. macrorhiza that tastes almost like anise, and another one that tastes like green yuck. Get a pad from one with decent fruits if you can. O. engelmanniican be very cold hardy, has beautiful white spines, and is a very large plant. It has the most consistently tastey fruit here in Texas. O. ellisiana is spineless, cold tolerant, and the cladodes are good eats. I cooked some last sunday with eggs and sausage. The nopal found in grocery stores is O. indica. It does have some cold tolerant varieties, but I have only seen them in Europe where it grows right up to the foothills of the Alps as an escapee/invasive. The varieties in grocery stores are all from Mexico and won't survive much north of zone 9b. The larger prickly pears would like some protection in zone 6, possibly a pile of rocks to their north. The smaller ones desiccate in the cold and perk back up in the spring.
There are low growing prickly pears that make it all the way into Canada:
O. humifusa, O. macrorhiza, O. fragilis, and O. polyacantha which is super spiny.
Some yuccas also grow under pines, and are more cold hardy than one might realize. They're deer resistant and can form an impenetrable barrier as a mass planting.
Thank You! Our area's weather is actually 7b-8a; the charts are not quite accurate for where we are. Some excellent information to follow up on; seems like it may be a good option! Sharing with the herd is fine; just do not want to be their one stop shop.
I'm also wondering if these perennials would grow well in or on the edge of the pine forest?
-Groundnut, Good King Henry, Lovage, Rhubarb, Sorrel, Violet "Rebbecca", Chicory, wild grapes
any recommendations on strains and polycultures?
I have a large old pine forest cupped around our house. Most of the Pine's green limbs begin well above our two story house in the N.E.K of Vermont. So there is a lot of dapple light. I think they are White pines. We also have a bit of Birch amongst them with a few Maples. On the western slope between the house and pine forest we have a huge maple tree. Ive heard Ostrich ferns grow best under maples? We also have some hostas, bleeding hearts growing in the forest. We are a zone four with slight slopes facing east west and south. On the slope that is south face we have a carpet of moss growing on the ground floor.
Thank you in advance for the help, and i hope this is an okay first post.
Looking forward to hear your thoughts,
Ken W Wilson wrote:I’m trying to grow morels under mine. It’s too soon to know if it worked.
How are you encouraging morels? This is something I want to try with the Douglas fir in my backyard. I have no idea how to begin.
Tree roots are amazing things, if you cut one, either on purpose or by accident, that root will recover and it will fork and make more roots.
For large trees, just decide where you want to plant something and dig a hole, don't just go at it but rather treat digging that hole like you are on an archeological dig.
It takes a little longer but you won't do harm to the larger roots that way.
I hope at least one kind produces.
Excited to try innoculating for morels!
I've been trying a small forest garden under some white pines for the past two years. The pines seem to deflect most light rains away from the forest floor. These pines were planted 30 years ago with a row of oak trees in front (south) of them. Because of the oaks, these pines grew very tall with few lower branches. Just in the last three years, we had to remove the oaks which has drastically opened up this pine forest. The problem is there does not seem to be much of any pine needle coverage on the forest floor, making it very dry this summer.
I started with haskaps (Lonicera caerulea) last year and got a good harvest the following spring, tho the berries are quite tart. Also planted ostrich ferns, hardy kiwi (just south of the pine forest for better sun), and blueberries (also south) last season. The kiwis look good but the ferns, haskap, and blueberries are suffering because of too little water. It seems as tho this forest could use a light layer of mulch until the pines can better cover the soil. This season I added a salal (Gaultheria shallon), sorrel, grape, smooth sumac, mulberry, and claytonia. Again, the lack of water is stressing them, in fact all of the claytonia has died. Just recently, I noticed some type of physalis and several small pawpaw trees growing wild in this pine forest so i may try more of them. Plans for next year include better ground coverage to hold the water in and more pawpaw trees deeper in the pine forest.
The idea to put a yucca under the pine trees sounds good but I'm out of space where it could get decent sun. Also, someone mentioned gooseberries; my understanding is they can harbor white pine blister rust, so they should not be planted anywhere near pines. Anyway, back to the topic:
Edibles under pine trees:
Pawpaw: Growing natively
Physalis: Growing natively
Kiwi: Need decent sun for a good crop (According to other growers)
Blueberries: Need decent sun for a good crop (According to other growers)
Grapes: Need decent sun for a good crop (According to other growers)
Sumac: Need decent sun for a good crop (I have seen this)
Another thing that interests me is silvopasture under pines. Where pines are thin enough, forage can be grown. The pine savanna is the natural state of things here in the southern coastal plain and silvopasture could take advantage of this. I know there is a lot research going on, but I have not seen it done near me.
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