I’ve been asked the same question twice recently, “What edible plants can I grow under my black walnut trees?”. Well, I’m glad there are other people with this question, because since we moved to Wisconsin, I’ve found myself pondering that exact same question. The back portion of our 1/2 acre yard has about 12 mature black walnut trees (I’m not joking!).
If you haven’t heard of the gardening dilemmas around black walnut trees, here’s a super quick explanation of why gardening can be tricky near them. Black walnut trees produce a chemical called juglone that is released into the soil via the roots and also onto the soil through the leaves, stems, and nut hulls. Juglone is typically found in the soil beneath the tree canopy but can extend out about 60’ from the base of the tree. Many plants can’t tolerate juglone, and therefore won’t grow under or near black walnut trees.