I am building a home on 30 acres of established woodlands. I will be homesteading, and eating most of my diet from this property. My goal is to add to the ecosystem, and build it into productivity. I will be thinning certain areas for pastures, but leaving some tree structure in place even there.
The acreage is mostly oak and hickory forest. I plan to add fruit, and more nut production. I have also been experimenting with scatter gardening into unfilled soil covered with weed growth.
Last year, I experimentally planted a small heavily grassed paddock with vegetable seed of all kinds. I did harvest quite a lot of vegetables before the weeds took over. The beans, peas, and corn did not do well, but the weather was pretty cool, and we had very late frosts.
Once, I had some pintos in a bucket that a cat had gotten into and peeed in. I took them out and scattered them along the pasture fence. Nearly every one came up. Sadly that year we had bad drought, and they never produced a crop. However they did teach me that it is possible to grow beans without tillage.
So I guess my question is, does anyone have advice on forest production while maintaining existing forest? I did go out there recently and scattered seed all along forest edges, mostly cool weather, greens, and Cole crops.
I would walk through your forest and try to ID as many tree and plant species as you can...if you dont know take pics and post......Many wild plants are edible....you can certainly add to mix.....here on the east coast some examples of wild edibles that do well in a forest situation include oaks(acorns are edible), pawpaw, persimmon, american plum, serviceberry, blueberry, chestnut, stinging nettle, ostrich fern, giant solomans seal and bamboo.....then you got mushrooms which can be cultivated in the shade of forest trees....annual vegetables that can be grown in shade include arugula, asian greens, chard, kale, lettuce, mesclun, mustard greens, scallions, and spinach.
I am doing a lot of seed scattering in my forest of oak, ash, osage orange, and honeylocust. Most things to date have died of dehydration, but we are in drought, so not a surprise. I've had pretty good luck with mustard greens, and one tiny little yellow crook-necked summer squash keeps giving me squashes the size of AA batteries.