[permaculture] Forest garden

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 19:59:52 EDT 2017


http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/permaculture/forest_garden.htm#Advantages%20of%20natural%20processes
<http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/permaculture/perm_intro.htm>

* Forest garden*

* Advantages of natural processes
<http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/permaculture/forest_garden.htm#Advantages
of natural processes>*

* Canopy layer
<http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/permaculture/forest_garden.htm#CANOPY
LAYER>*

* Middle layer
<http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/permaculture/forest_garden.htm#MIDDLE
LAYE>*

* Ground layer
<http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/permaculture/forest_garden.htm#GROUND
LAYE>*

Forest gardening was made popular by the practice of the late *Robert Hart*
in his book *Forest Gardening*. Hart worked out a system of * forest edge
productivity* in a *temperate* climate, but he later recognised that
peasant societies had been creating these plant combinations for thousands
of years. These people - would have used them for producing food in *home
gardens* (close to home) and representing a high degree of self-reliance.
Even today, they can be found surrounding the *simpler communities* in
Mexico, Central America, Benin in West Africa, Sri Lanka and Java.

We should really credit Mother Nature with the design. Pre-historic people,
when not chasing animals for food, fed by* grazing* on* fruit*, *nuts*
and *berries
*in what they recognised as an* edible landscape*. For all we know, they
may also have eaten nettle tops, willow herb shoots, and various weeds
growing in streams. Above all, they were *opportunistic foragers* who had
no intention of tilling soil or tending crops. They ate food from trees,
shrubs and vines, and they *picked-over* the leaves of perennial plants or
freely seeding annuals.

Advantages of natural processes

CANOPY LAYER - FRUITING TREES & SHRUBS

Apple

Blackthorn

Cherries

Crab apple

Gages

Hawthorn

Medlar

Mountain ash

Pears

Plums

Sea buckthorn

Service berry

Design of forest gardens makes use of the *advantages* that the * natural
world* provides. *Nitrogen fixation* through the *symbiotic association*
between soil micro-organisms and plants is an obvious example. Most*
perennial* nitrogen fixing plants (including the shrubs and trees) deliver
nitrogen into the soil over and above the nitrogen they use themselves. In
addition, fall of their leaves in autumn provides *mulch* to feed the soil
with more nitrogen. Another symbiotic association - that between *fungi*
and plant in *mycorrhiza* - is only available in* perennials, *but it is
likely that these will form the majority of our plant choices anyway. While
the absolute benefit of this second partnership is not fully known, it does
aid the plant in resourcing *soil minerals* such as *phosphorus* and
probably also in water uptake. We can also use plants that are * dynamic
accumulators* of soil minerals. *Comfrey* is the classic example with its
deep penetrating roots bringing up* minerals* from the *subsoil*, and
making them available at the soil surface when their leaves fall as mulch.
*Yarrow*, *tansy* and *chicory* are others.

Above ground there are a plant qualities that we can also exploit. *Flowers*
and *berries* attract insects and birds, and these are our natural allies
in *pest predation*. Annual companion plants are often used amongst
vegetable growing to create a *natural balance* in pests and predators, but
if *perennial* plants are used instead for pest *predator attraction*, the
range of suitable plants that can be used is increased, and the benefits of*
permanent plantings* can be exploited.

Permaculture Design encourages us look more at the *purpose* and
*arrangement* of our systems so that they work for us in as *sustainable*
way as possible. * Least effort for maximum effect* is a design principle
in Permaculture, and it argues for using a *perennial* plant over an annual
plant because of less work, but also because it allows a * permanent plant
community* to develop with all the benefits that can bring. The forest
garden at Manor heath and the embryonic forest gardens at Springfield
re-create the feeding-by-grazing. They are an imitation of a *natural
forest,* designed to achieve* economy *of *space* and* labour*.

*A forest of multiple layers*

* MIDDLE LAYER - SOFT FRUIT, BERRIES, NUTS, HIPS, FLOWERS, STEMS, AND
SHOOTS*

Bamboo(for shoots)

Oregon grape

Barberry

Raspberries

Blackberry

Redcurrant

Blackcurrants

Rhubarb

Blueberry

Rose (for hips)

Boysenberry

Siberian pea tree (flowers)

Gooseberries

Strawberries

Hazels

Whitecurrant

Loganberry

Worcesterberry

Like a forest edge, the garden is arranged in* storeys, *tiers or layers,
the *taller *trees forming the canopy, and the *shrubs* and clumps of *
perennials *forming the lower storeys. Where space is limited, the shrub
layer is planted closely to produce *edges* to the taller trees, and these
edges face roughly *south* so that best use is made of the *sun*.
Traditional tree and shrub foods are grown such as apples, pears, stone
fruit and nuts, but there have also been planted less common native food
trees such as rowan (*Sorbus spp*) and edible hawthorns (*C**rataegus spp*) and
the ornamentals brought in from N. America such as Oregon grape (*Mahonia
spp*) and Service berry (*Amelanchier spp*.) all of which provide edible
berries (probably best to cook them). A Siberian pea tree (*Caragana spp*)
provides flowers to eat, while a roses give hips for teas and fruit drinks.
Culinary herbs are planted as an *understorey* or groundcover, along with
as many uncommon or *wildflower* salads, roots, shoot or leaf-providing
plants as space permits (the tables show examples of plants in each layer).

Nature's balance

* GROUND LAYER - PERENNIALS, TUBERS AND SELF-SEEDERS*

Fat hen

Lucerne

Rosebay willowherb

Potatoes

Horse raddish

Sweet Cicely

Garlic

Lovage

Wild garlic

Shallots

Elecampane

Feverfew

Tree onion

Fennel

Mints

Chives

Land cress

Lambs lettuce

Sage

Rosemary

Cuckoo flower

Thyme

Lemon Balm

Sorrel

Soapwort

Comfrey

Tansy

Purslane (*claytonia*)

Coastal cabbage

Jerusalem artichoke

Most people start off in forest gardening by choosing plants that only have
*food** potential *- the purely decorative or utilitarian does not find
space. With more experience, particularly in the ways of creating a *
natural balance* between pests and predators, we recognise that this rule
is too restrictive. Some plants will earn their place because they are *dynamic
accumulators* or *nitrogen fixers*, thus aiding in nutrient cycling in the
soil, as do the trees as their leaves drop (such as comfrey, tansy,
small-leaved lime and alder). It is an aspiration that each plant be
*perennial* so that the amount of annual labour would be minimal. Space can
be found, though, for *free-seeding* annuals (corn salad and landcress)
that perennialise themselves by seeding each year. Similarly for * tubers*
such as potatoes and jerusalem artichokes, where some can be left in the
ground to grow the next year.

*Forest gardening * challenges us to learn more about the *value *and*
properties *of plants and their culture for food. These gardens may make
only a partial contribution to our food needs (there are few perennial
vegetables in this country) but their *productivity* for so little work
earns them a place in our overall landscape.

The plan shows a forest garden built in 1993 as a public demonstration
garden in Halifax. The picture above shows the garden five years after
building. The garden is 25' deep and 24' along its shortest width. The
plantings are tabulated to the right. A hawthorn hedge is planted along the
southern fenced border (right-hand side of paln) and paths through the
garden are mulched with woodchip.

* T (top layer) *1: pear  2: pear  3: plum  4: rowan  5: apple  6: cherry
7: crab apple  8: service berry  9: apple  10: apple  11: siberian pea tree

*S (shrub layer) * 1: hazel  2: hazel  3: blueberries  4: bamboo  5: sloe
6: gooseberry  7: hazel  8: barberry  9: rose  10: blackcurrant  11:
worcesterberry  12: sea buckthorn  13: blackcurrant

*C (cordons) *1: whitecurrant  2: redcurrant  3: whitecurrant  4: to 9:
apples  10: gooseberry

*c (climbers) *1: boysenberry  2: loganberry  3: wild bramble

*SS (self seeders) * 1: landcress  2: corn salad and nasturtiums

*MB * mulch basket with raspberries growing around it

*Rh  *rhubarb, *A  * alfalfa *SB  * strawberries

Mark Fisher - Permaculture Design course handout notes

www.self-willed-land.org.uk <http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/index.htm>
mark.fisher at self-willed-land.org.uk <mark.fisher at self-willed_land.org.uk>


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