If you look really closely at the pic above you can see a few small weeds. As shade increases weed decrease dramatically. It's awesome to see all the right species and the high density come together to create a truly permenent food forest (still minimal weeding). If I where to disperse canna edulis more thoroughly and harvest it often enough that it doesn't take over weeds would be controlled even further but we would get Les raspberries. As the canopy has thickened we have started to get less pears from the old pear trees and there are a lot less chayotes. The chayotes that do grow will be way later too because their just not getting enough light anymore. Eventually if overall production drops off too much I will take out more side branches to let the light in and to encourage the trees to reach for the sky. I never cut the central leader and I don't worry about not being able to pick the fruit way up in the air. I simply pick it up off the ground daily or I shake the tree if possible. The only trees I prune regularly are Mulberry and capulin cherry because it's nice to pick those right off the tree. By pruning cherry I mean coppicing we burn the wood for cooking and we make charcoal. I also cook food for the pigs so we use more than your average family. Pigs love the cooked stuff, they don't waist near as much.
As you can tell from most of the pics the current understory consists of mostly raspberry. In the future I will probably plant more Canna edulis because it does better in full shade. The raspberries will be pushed ever outward toward the edges, although raspberry is pretty shade tolarant too. Oh and I also hope to inclued much more dioscorea japonica and maybe other dioscorea as they are also extremely shade tolarant.
Hi John. The climate here is actually cool because of the altitud (2000m). I was surprised when I first arrived. It's in a summer rainfall area with plenty of rain in summer but 6 or 7 months of drought in winter. The winter temperature can be anywhere from 26°C down to -4 at night and summer is usually 26 at mid day and around 15 at night. This year we where lucky to have no frost in winter.