A Deeper Look At Forest Roots

Black and Blue Cohosh Forest

Sandy loam, a substance created by the breakdown of minerals (rock) mixed with the breakdown of carbon (tree or grass detritus). Sandy loam is what we all want, because it is the best all around substrate for growing the plants we love the most: GoldensealGinsengBlack and Blue CohoshWild YamTwinleafBloodroot, Stonerooot, Mayapple — the entire interconnected clan of powerfully medicinal shade-loving forest roots. My book “Growing At-Risk” gives a chapter on each of these (and other) herbs of the hardwood forest biome. Let’s look a bit deeper into what can be done to bring these entities down home and help them prosper!

Survey the growing area. It may be a woodland with trees, brush and diverse broadleaf species already intact. If this is the case, identify areas overgrown by weedy species or heavily shaded by dead wood or thin-able trees. Such areas have often been left undisturbed for some time, and the soil may be rich and undisturbed. Clear away dead wood and crowded trees, giving access to the forest floor and providing more light to the growing beds. Forest roots like dappled shade, where sunlight moves across the moist and humus-laden soil in amorphous patches.

After all, even shade-loving herbs eat light! Remove existing weedy species and push your spade into the ground. If you have at least 6 inches of good dirt, then it’s a go. Pull the existing mulch away from the planting bed, which should be at

Mayapple Forest

least 4 feet wide, arranged with a path to the side to guide forest creatures and humans away from the planting, not over the top of the sensitive plants. Pile the mulch in the path, and plant the dormant roots in the bed, then rake the mulch back over the top of the bed. Mark the bed with a heavy stake and a label giving the date and the species planted there. Metal tags may be used for this, so that they do not fade or disintegrate with time. You will be oh-so-happy that you marked your planting spot!

 

Read full article via Ricoh’s Blog: A Deeper Look at Forest Roots

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