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How to design a beautiful edible forest garden

Whether you have a small space or a large lot, you can have a beautiful garden and eat it too. Edible forest gardens mimic natural forests, but edibles are prioritized in plant selection. They're a natural, sustainable method of growing food for yourself, providing a habitat for wildlife and beautifying your home.

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How to design a beautiful edible forest garden

  1. 1. けんたま/KENTAMA Designing an Edible Forest Garden
  2. 2. Forests are multidimensional tapestries of layers, relationships and species James Golden
  3. 3. Unlike the two dimensional monocultures of modern agriculture Carl Wycoff
  4. 4. Edible forests mimic the three dimensional ecosystems found in natural forests Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 1
  5. 5. Vertical layers are populated with diverse edibles
  6. 6. Martin Crawford's forest garden Plants work together as a community
  7. 7. History is rich with examples BRAZILIAN THINGS/CC BY-SA 4.0
  8. 8. Kuhikugu is a complex network of over 20 cities. Silnei L Andrade “Many present Amazon forests, while seemingly natural, are domesticated… The Indians were in the process of terraforming the Amazon when Columbus showed up and ruined everything.” ~Charles C. Mann
  9. 9. Mayan Milpa Cycle "is one of the most successful human inventions ever created" MesoAmerican Research Center
  10. 10. Chagga home gardens carpet the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro Ulrich Doering/Alamy
  11. 11. Complex, species rich layers characterize home gardens in Indonesia & Sri Lanka Pekarangan
  12. 12. Influenced by Kerala forest gardens, Robert Hart introduced forest gardening to Britain London permaculture
  13. 13. Masanobu Fukuoka’s experiments with natural orchards, polycultures & do-nothing farming challenged conventional agricultural practices
  14. 14. IMAGINE Susanne Nilsson “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” ~Masanobu Fukuoka
  15. 15. Biking down streets lined with fruit & nut trees Barry Neild/CNN
  16. 16. Living in a community where you harvest fruits & nuts with neighbours
  17. 17. Celebrating harvests in edible parks
  18. 18. Building urban oases for native bees, birds & wildlife Melinda Young Stuart
  19. 19. Imagination Grove: Matthew Browning Playing in natural playgrounds that ignite your imagination
  20. 20. Working at a company where you can garden with your coworkers Manutan company, France
  21. 21. La Ferme Biologique du Bec Hellouin Buying food from a neighbourhood market gardener farming their quarter acre lot
  22. 22. Aging in a community with a food forest & farm for its central plaza Win6 development near Santa Clara California
  23. 23. Being surrounded by nature in the centre of the city
  24. 24. Rediscovering a unique spirit of place in the city you call home Charlotte Harris, RHS Chelsea Flower Show
  25. 25. fishhawk, flickr Diversifying from the 15 species we depend on for 90% of our food
  26. 26. Regenerating soil devastated by current agricultural and urban practices George Steinmetz
  27. 27. Developing food resilience in the face of climate change 2010 Christchurch earthquake
  28. 28. Reji, Garfield Play Park, Danny Perez Photography Nurturing ecosystems, people & wildlife in the city
  29. 29. Leaving a living legacy for future generations Carol Von Canon
  30. 30. FORESTS CAN TEACH US ancientforest.org
  31. 31. conventional orchard permaculture orchard edible forest Barbara Eckstein
  32. 32. Conventional practices fight nature
  33. 33. Little life Transform the site Low species diversity Higher conventional yields Simultaneous ripening Bare soil Ongoing soil amendments Nurture the plants Garden for vegetables Closely monitored pest control Flat land Single climate Two dimensional plantings Mostly machine or human labour Fighting animals for the harvest
  34. 34. San Isidro Permaculture Forests gardens emulate nature
  35. 35. Teaming with life Learn from the site and choose plants to suit High species diversity Higher diversity of yields (nuts, fruits, medicinals...) Constant harvesting Living mulch Self-sustaining, building soil naturally Nurture the soil Garden for food, fuel, cooling, windbreaks, water Designed for natural pest management Contoured swales Designed microclimates Three dimensional, densely layered plantings Mostly plant, insect, fungi, and soil labour Sharing harvest with wildlife
  36. 36. “A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.” ~Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees Tim Vrtiska
  37. 37. Thomas Rainer Plants are social beings that thrive in communities
  38. 38. (JUST LIKE PEOPLE)
  39. 39. If you plant that way [polyculture], it becomes so much easier… so much more interesting and, overall, less work… Take a step toward nature and nature will always take ten steps towards you. ~Stefan Sobkowiak Peter McCabe/Montreal Gazette
  40. 40. GRASSLAND community Thomas Rainer
  41. 41. WOODLAND community Thomas Rainer
  42. 42. FOREST community Thomas Rainer
  43. 43. Tony Spencer EDGE community
  44. 44. How to design an edible forest
  45. 45. Listen to your inner gardener Ask what matters Look to nature Sculpt the land Cultivate relationships Play & have fun Practice zen & the art of editing
  46. 46. LISTEN TO YOUR INNER GARDENER Discover the magic in expressing who you are ASK: Why do I garden? When do I lose track of time? Experience moments of joy? Peace? Pleasure?
  47. 47. “To establish a natural orchard, one should dig large holes here and there among the stumps of felled trees and plant unpruned saplings and fruit seed over the site, leaving these unattended just as one would leave alone a reforested stand of trees.” ~Masanobu Fukuoka, “do-nothing” farming
  48. 48. “Miracle” apples, Akinori Kimura "When everybody is going the wrong way, are you brave enough to go the true way? A man can transform the world's agriculture from what he learns from an apple tree." ~Akinori Kimura, What I Learn From The Apple Trees
  49. 49. "a way to recover a lost relationship I had with wildness” ~Thomas Rainer
  50. 50. "If should look as if it has always been like that, as if Nature made it that way. That’s good design.” ~Sepp Holzer
  51. 51. ASK WHAT MATTERS Tidy or natural? Plentiful harvests or shared sanctuary? Doing or not doing? ASK: What’s important to me? How do I want to spend my time? What do I like to cook? Eat? Make?
  52. 52. Eliza Greenman #eatuglyfruit
  53. 53. Nancy Lawson (Humane Gardener), cultivating compassion
  54. 54. Rosalind Creasy ("crazy hippy lady from California”), gardening & cooking
  55. 55. LOOK TO NATURE Practice the art of observation ASK: What is here? What will nature help me do here? What sparks my imagination? Peter Power for The Globe and Mail
  56. 56. What’s wrong with this picture?
  57. 57. Learn about your bioregion Marie Davey Lupine Invasions
  58. 58. Get to know your soil
  59. 59. Observe light, air, earth, water, warmth
  60. 60. Listen to the stories each plant has to tell
  61. 61. SCULPT THE LAND design mini-ecosystems Dan Pearson, Chelsea Garden Show ASK: What makes me feel at home? What do I want to harvest?
  62. 62. Cultivating a forest of nut trees
  63. 63. Shaping a microclimate with hugelkultur
  64. 64. Sepp Holzer
  65. 65. Protecting peaches with stone walls in Paris murs à pêches
  66. 66. Contouring the land for rice paddies in Vermont Whole Systems Design
  67. 67. Capturing rainwater with a pond
  68. 68. CULTIVATE RELATIONSHIPS “One plant is just a single note” ASK: What does a plant want? What functions does it serve? How can I honour its essential nature?
  69. 69. “One plant is just a single note; no matter how beautiful on its own, it needs other notes to form a melody. That’s where the real music can begin.” ~Roy Diblik, The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden
  70. 70. What is its structural character? How sociable is it (how does it spread)? What does its life underground look like? How does it compete? How does it tolerate stress? What’s its growth habit? What does a tree want? Carol Von Canon
  71. 71. needs attributes behaviours high water table endomycorrhizae Juglone suppresses competition rounded, spreading canopy deep, rich, fertile soil late to leaf out drops leaves after first frost gold fall colour Black walnut (Juglans nigra) delicate apical bud deeply furrowed black bark long, brittle taproot, deep wide spreading roots strong limbs sun pioneer species bole sprouting companions protection from pests & disease pollination nutrients
  72. 72. Can I eat it? Use it for medicine? Harvest for other uses? Does it add beauty? How? In what seasons? Can birds or other wildlife eat it? Use it as habitat? Does it fix nitrogen? Serve as a living mulch? Does it provide nectar for pollinators? Can insects, moths or butterflies feed off its leaves? Does it deter pests? Does it serve as support structure for other plants? Can it lower my energy costs? Does it tolerate drought? Is it native? Will it filter and clean runoff? Does it provide other ecosystem services? What functions does a tree serve?
  73. 73. gifts shade & cooling purifies air nuts syrup valuable timber medicine juglone dye wildlife neutralizes carcinogens Black walnut (Juglans nigra) sedative inhibitor of fungal growth pH indicator food shelter sequesters carbon windbreak attributes behaviours rounded, spreading canopy gold fall colour deeply furrowed black bark strong limbs pioneer species late to leaf out abrasive abrasive
  74. 74. Thomas Rainer & Claudia West
  78. 78. talkingplant Some of the most important relationships form underground
  79. 79. PLAY & HAVE FUN Don’t be too serious, start simple, make mistakes ASK: What can I try? What happened? What did I learn?
  80. 80. David Chapman One nut is all you need
  81. 81. Be on the lookout for inspiration
  82. 82. Opportunity knocks, turning hollow stumps into hugelkultur containers
  83. 83. Stump as garden art can become its own mini ecosystem
  84. 84. How many ways can you use dead wood?
  85. 85. “My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.” ~H. Fred Ale
  86. 86. PRACTICE ZEN & THE ART OF EDITING Allow your garden to express itself ASK: How is it evolving in space & time? What do I need to tweak? What can I not do?
  87. 87. “Experience what happens, act when necessary.” ~Piet Oudolf Stefan Sobkowiak, Miracle Farms
  88. 88. Maddy Harland’s polyculture vegetable garden welcomes volunteers - salads and flowers
  89. 89. The ditch that wanted to become a meadow
  90. 90. Evolve with your garden
  91. 91. LET’S TRY Adam Bindslev
  92. 92. Choose your canopy
  93. 93. Black cherry (Prunus serotina) Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) Oak (Quercus spp.) Hickory (Carya spp.) Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) American basswood (Tilia americana) American beech (Fagus grandifolia) Chestnut (Castanea spp.) Heartnut (Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis) Ultra Northern Pecan (Carya illinoensis) Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) Walnuts, Butternuts, & Buartnuts (Juglans spp.) Trazel (Corylus spp. avellana x colurna) Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra) Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
  94. 94. Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
  95. 95. Feed your forest with nitrogen fixers
  96. 96. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) White clover (Trifolium repens) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) Lupin (Lupine spp.) Leadplant (Amorpha canescens) Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) Groundnut (Apios americana) White prairie clover (Dalea candida ) American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)
  97. 97. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  98. 98. Structure your understory Rick Darke
  99. 99. Medlar (Mespilus germanica) Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) Yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolia) Hazelnut (Corylus Americana) Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) American cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) Wild plum (Prunus americana) Raisin Tree (Hovenia dulcis) Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) Sumac (Rhus spp.) Elderberry (Sambucus species) Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans & Z. schinifolium)
  100. 100. Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Elderberry (Sambucus species) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  101. 101. Design for seasonal beauty using shrubs
  102. 102. Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) Wild black currant (Ribes americanum) Wild roses (Rosa spp.) Wild raisin (Viburnum cassinoides) Wild gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum) Jostaberry (Ribes nidigrolaria) Haskap (Lonicera caerulea) Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) Aronia berries (Aronia melanocarpa) Quince (Cydonia oblonga) Goji Berry (Lycium chinense) Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) Shrubby St. John’s Wort (Hypericum kalmianum) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) Red raspberry (Rubus idaeus.)
  103. 103. Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Elderberry (Sambucus species) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) Wild roses (Rosa spp.) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos)
  104. 104. Grow food using living mulches (for yourself, wildlife & the soil) Beth Chatto Woodland Garden
  105. 105. Siberian purslane (Claytonia sibirica) Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) Sea kale (Crambe maritima) Garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa ‘Profusion’) Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) Wild arugula (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) Eastern waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) Lovage (Levisticum officinale) Ground cherry (Physalis pubescens) Good king henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) French Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Radicchio (Cichorium intybus) Egyptian walking onions (Allium cepa x proliferum) Apple mint (Mentha suaveolens) Broad-leaved toothwort (Cardamine diphylla) Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
  106. 106. Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Hosta (Hosta spp.) False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) Mallow (Malva spp.) Spikenard (Aralia cordata) Honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis) Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Chinese Artichoke (Stachys affinis) Angelica, Korean (Angelica gigas) Showy stonecrop (Sedum spectabile) Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
  107. 107. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) Wild roses (Rosa spp.) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
  108. 108. Add plants to attract pollinators & deter pests Toshihiro Gamo
  109. 109. Carrot (Apiaceae) family Daisy (Asteraceae) family Wild arugula (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) Mustard (Brassicaceae) family Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) Plants with small flowers in clusters attract the most beneficials
  110. 110. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Bocking 14 Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum 'Bocking 14') Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’) Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) Borage (Borago officinalis) Garlic (Allium spp.) Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp.) Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Dill (Anethum graveolens) Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum spp.) Catnip (Nepeta spp.) Sage (Salvia officinalis) Lavender (Lavandula spp.) Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
  111. 111. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) Wild roses (Rosa spp.) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)
  112. 112. Carpet the ground to maximize biodiversity Tuin Smakelijk
  113. 113. Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Violets (Viola spp.) False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum) American Yew (Taxus canadensis) Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) Barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) Canada windflower (Anemone canadensis) Eastern waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) Plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) Brown-eyed susan (Rudbeckia triloba) Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) False strawberry (Potentilla indica) Goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus) Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) Broad-leaved toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)
  114. 114. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) Wild roses (Rosa spp.) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) Eastern waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) Brown-eyed susan (Rudbeckia triloba) Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)
  115. 115. Grow up to maximize space & privacy
  116. 116. Malabar spinach (Basella alba) Nasturtium vine (Tropaeolum spp.) Montreal melon (Cucumis melo 'Montreal Market') Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Groundnut (Apios americana) Wild grape (Vitis riparia) Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana) Five flavour berry (Schisandra chinensis) Caucasian spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides) Mouse melon (Melothria scabra) Scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) Fava beans (Vicia faba) Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) Zucchini Tromboncino (Cucurbita moschata ‘Tromboncino’) American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) Hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) Hops (Humulus lupulus) Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
  117. 117. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Mulberry (Morus rubra) Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) Wild roses (Rosa spp.) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) Eastern waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) Brown-eyed susan (Rudbeckia triloba) Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana)
  118. 118. Grow down for edible roots & to build organic matter
  119. 119. Trout lily (Erythronium americanum) Golden garlic (Allium moly) Skirret (Sium sisarum) Groundnut (Apios americana) Salsify (Tragopogon Porrifolius) Sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus) Cattail (Typha latifolia) Garlic (Allium spp.) Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum) Marsh Woundwort (Stachys palustris) American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) Chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis) Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) Daikon (Raphanus sativus Longipinnatus) Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia.) Water lily (Nymphaea odorata) Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
  120. 120. “Few of us are in a position to restore the forests... But tens of millions of us have gardens, or access to open spaces such as industrial wastelands, where trees can be planted. And if full advantage can be taken of the potentialities that are available even in heavily built up areas, new ‘city forests’ can arise.” ~Robert A.de J.Hart
  121. 121. UNLEASH YOUR INNER GARDENER scrappy annie
  122. 122. Joyce Hostyn | joycehostyn.com