Permaculture 101: Did you know...?
...that you can garden in the woods? It's true! Many fruit and berry bushes and trees are undercanopy plants, meaning they grow under the partial shade of the taller trees that grow around them. In North Carolina, a little-known native fruit tree, the Paw-paw, thrives in this kind of environment. Paw-paws produce mango-like fruit that only last a few days, so you won't be seeing them in the grocery store. When you pick them at their peak, they have a custard-like flesh with a banana-mango flavor. Unfortunately, they go past ripeness in a day or so, so they don't keep well.
Other trees that thrive in an undercanopy setting are peaches, apples, crabapples, persimmons, apricots, plums, and many nut trees. So, you don't have to cut down an existing stand of woods to grow a small orchard!
Berry bushes thrive under those shades or at the edge of a forest. Many of us know the prickly wild blackberries that grow native around the US, but their more cultivated cousins do well in the same environment. Below berry bushes, many herbs and flowers thrive in the shade.
By farming this way, not only do you make less work for yourself by skipping on tree removal and looking for a shady place to protect the fruit trees, but you preserve if not enhance the environment. A garden should feed not only its keepers but the ecosystem it's in. This is our goal for the woods here.
Want to learn more and help with acquiring and planting these trees, bushes, and herbs? Give us a buzz and set up a time! We can give a practical class if you have a group of students, or you can come individually to learn and get hands on experience.