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Steve - Question about your book

Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Sreve, Thank you for being here to answer our questions.

I have a question about your book…I am trying to figure out whether it has enough in it that is useful to my situation for me to buy it.

We are putting in a Permaculture Food Forest on our 1/4 acre lot in Portland, Oregon.

It has a very large Black Walnut tree, a large Douglas Fir tree and Cedar tree, and a medium sized Blue Spruce, 2 medium sized Pine trees and some very tall Photinia creating deep shade in places between our house and neighbors' houses.

These surround the larger center of the land which is open and sunny.

The deep shade areas are mostly separated. They run about 10 feet by 20 feet or so, up to 30x30 feet under the Black Walnut.

These are deep shade areas under trees which are not known for being the best of tree neighbors.

So mushroom cultivation is in order, and I am figureing out some edibles that will live in these spaces. Happily, I love Nettles! And I am befriending this challenge. It appears that Cedars are less allelopathic than simply drinking all the water. I am amazed at what will actually grow under a Cedar tree.

So here is my question for you….Does your book focus on larger forest spaces, or is there useful material for someone like me who has these relatively small patches of shady understory areas?

I need to be quite focussed in the ways I spend money on this project…sadly, delightful tangents are not in the budget. Some books I only check out from the library.

Thank you for your work and any answers you have to my question.

Pamela Melcher
Posts: 27
Location: New York
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Hi Pamela:

Thanks for your interest, and question.

Full disclosure: I am biased! So naturally I think our book has a lot to offer anyone working in forested systems!

We tried to offer some bigger picture context and theory and then devote most of the book to the technical how-to of growing many temperature plants, trees, and mushrooms. A lot of this content would be relevant to your situation, it seems.

As context, my "forest farm" is only 1 acre. You can put a lot of these elements into practice in pretty small spaces.

Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thank you for answering my question, Steve.

It sounds like your book contains good, needed answers for me. Thank you for making such information available.

I have noticed that the soil under these trees is the richest by a wide margin on the whole lot, and yet I have not found much solid info about what will grow in such deep shade, except mushrooms. It was very frustrating.

Of course it is the best soil, as that is where the most leaf and/or needle fall has gathered, and where there are the most mycorhizal fungi.

The Walnut is probably 150 years old or older. The land used to be a dairy farm, so I also picture the cows hanging out in the shade of the Walnut tree for years and fertilizing the soil there. It is mindbogglingly rich soil there. On a Summer evening, listening to the crickets and sitting under that tree, the chi is palpable. It is a mystical experience.

Perhaps 20% of the lot is this rich soil in deep shade.

So this is exciting that I can learn more ways to grow edibles in that shade. Beyond violets and nettles and mushrooms, although of course they are awesome.

I lived for 23 years in a cabin I built myself deep in the forest on a 55 acre piece of land that was reforested with fir trees about 20 years before I started living there and it was amazing to witness the exponentially increasing amount of life that appears in such circumstances!!!

I choose now to live in the city because that is where most of the people are, and I want to model how that return of life happens in a context where more people can learn from it and implement it themselves.

I am glad you are making valuable info available to people such as me, and not just focussing on those blessed with large tracts of land.

Thank you again, and the Best of Wishes with your book and your work

Pamela Melcher

Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
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