Has anyone had any luck at growing edibles under mesquite tree? If so, what? I'm looking at possibly adding a mesquite on the west side of my chicken coop. I have a passion fruit vine trailing up it currently, but it isn't looking so good. The tree would be at the far end of one of my gardening areas that measures 7ft X 50ft. I was thinking I could plant other varieties of edibles that required less sun...(Hmmm...any help would be appreciated). Thanks!
I do container veggie gardening (large pots) under a vitex and lysiloma tree. Both of these are quite small trees in comparison to a mesquite and the pot placement is near the edges of the shade canopy. The vitex makes quite dense shade while the lysiloma is more dappled. I have successfully grown peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and many herbs in this area. This is also on the north side of my house, the trees are very close to the house, so the micro-climate there should be a tad bit cooler due to the permanent shade strip on that N side. Another factor, I am in the far NE valley and we are about 4-5 degrees cooler here than Phx.
I have a 25 yr old huge Chilean mesquite and we grow a lot of succulents and cacti under it but no veggies. We feed the birds there and have a devil of a time keeping them out of the few ornamental pots out on the patio near the tree so veggies there would certainly be toast in no time. Once the mesquites get that large (and even when younger if you overwater them) the branch and leaf structure will make a pretty dense shade in summer which is not so favorable to growing veggies but at the edges of the shade could still work. The thing is I would imagine your chickens would really love the shade and the litter (if left in place) that comes from the tree would encourage bugs which they would also love to scratch for.
I have a strip of flowers. Half is under the fringe of the mesquite and other half gets full sun. The flowers do better in full sun, most of the flowers under the tree have died. The edibles under the tree are peppermint and sunchokes. The sunchokes might make it. The mint is spinly. Also sunflowers don't like it under the Mesquite. I love my Mesquite it offers great shade to sit under.
I would try the lower light veggies - mostly types of leafy plants. A good summer crop might be sweet potatos, they do well in low light conditions. What I did in my shady garden is plant lots of things and see what does best. For me it was the sweet potatos in summer and chard and nasturtiums did great in the winter but that was shade from mature citrus - deep shade - you probably could get a better variety with the dappled light. Also, sweet peppers are doing well there too.