Food Forest Gardens – Permaculture Designs

by Liliana Usvat

A forest garden is esthetically pleasing.

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One of the main differences between a forest garden and the typical food garden is that forest gardens rely on perennials. Most vegetable gardens include mainly annuals — such as tomatoes, lettuce or radishes.

To understand the difference this makes, consider the role of annual plants in nature. Annuals colonize and cover disturbed ground, because theirs is a high-energy, in-a-hurry lifestyle. In a single season, an annual sprouts from seed, grows to maturity, ripens fruits and seeds, then dies.

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This is what needs to be done on farmland that is being lost to desertification. Soil needs the water retaining power of trees and a forest garden would provide the necessary biodiversity to prevent soil erosion and the effects of monoculture agriculture. What is even more amazing is that it can be done in such a short span of time. China could so benefit from this as could the American west coast which is quickly running out of water.

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In My opinion to develop a forest garden from desert or bare land the ownership of the land is essential. A Forest garden should be nurtured and cared for and observed and returned back to.

The second ingredient is the knowledge that should be available to those that want to be involved in such an adventure.
Design strategy:

  1.     easy
  2.     low maintenance,
  3.     productive and beautiful…
  4.     a Food Forest Garden.

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Layers of a Temperate Forest Garden

The 7 layer classification system was developed by Robert Hart from Prehistoric tropical garden methods in the 60s for more temperate climates. It provides a structure similar to that of a real forest that can be adapted from a large scale farm to that of a modest backyard. The architecture of a successful food forest considers not only light requirements of the plants, but water, shelter, root depths and other companion planting principles.

1. Canopy Layer  – here are few types of plants 9m+ high nut, fruit and nitrogen fixing trees (Only larger FFGs)

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Alder American Persimmon Apple Arazole / Mediterranean Medlar Black locust Carob Cherry Chestnut Chinese Chestnut Cornelian cherries European Plum (Myrobalan) Hawthorn Highbush cranberries Honey locusts Japanese Walnut (Heartnut) Korean Stone Pine Northern Pecan Pear Siberian Pea Tree Stone pine Tagasaste/ tree Lucerne Walnut Hawthorns Medlar Mulberry Quince, Alnus Diospyros virginiana Malus sylvestris Crataegus azarolus Robinia pseudoacacia Ceratonia siliqua Prunus avium Castanea dentata Castanea mollissima Cornus mas Prunus domestica Crataegus spp. Viburnum trilobum Gleditsia triacanthos Juglans ailantifolia Pinus koraiensis Carya illinoinensis Pyrus communis Caragana arborescens Pinus pinea Cytisus proliferus Juglans Crataegus monogyna Mespilus germanica Morus spp. Cydonia oblonga

2. Low-tree Layer -4m high, Dwarf Fruit / Nut Trees Nitrogen Fixers & smaller trees Shade tolerant trees Pruned into open form for light

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Almond dwarf Apple Dwarf Apricot Australian Round Lime Banana (Lady Finger) Beech Cherry Dwarf Citrus Dwarf Crab Apple Date-plum Dogwood Elderberry Japanese peppers Monstera (Fruit Salad Plant) Nectarine Olive Pawpaw, Papaya Peach Dwarf Pear Dwarf Persimmon Dwarf Plum Dwarf Service Tree Tamarillo, Tree Tomato Tree mugwort Bamboo ‘Gracilis’ Serviceberry Silverberry Acacia/Wattles Prunus dulcis Malus domestica Prunus armeniaca Citrus australis Musa acuminata x Musa balbisiana Fagus sylvatica Prunus avium Citrus spp. Malus sp. Diospyros lotus Cornus Sambucus nigra Zanthoxylum spp. Monstera deliciosa Prunus persica var. nucipersica Olea europaea Carica papaya Prunus persica Pyrus communis Diospyros spp. Prunus domestica Sorbus domestica Cyphomandra betacea Artemisia arborescens Bambusa textilis ‘Gracilis’ Amelanchier spp. Elaeagnus Acacia spp.

3. Shrub Layer – Woody perennial plants Flowering, fruiting, wildlife attracting

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Acacia/Wattle Austral Indigo Blackberry Blueberry Cape Gooseberry Citonella Currants Curry Plant Edible Savlias Goji berries Gooseberry Guavas Jostaberry Large Kangaroo Apple lavender Lemon Verbena Mountain Marigold Nodding Saltbush Perennial Basil Perennial Chilli, Rocoto Chilli Raspberry River Mint Rose Rosemary Scented Geraniums Southernwood Tomatillo Wormwood Acacia spp. Indigofera australis Vaccinium spp. Physalis peruviana Ribes spp Helichrysum italicum Salvia spp. Ribes Uva-crispa Myrtus spp. Ribes x culverwellii Solanum laciniatum lavandula angustifolia Aloysia triphylla Einadia wutans Ocimum gratissimum Capsicum pubescens Rubus spp. Mentha australis Rosa Rosmarinus officinalis Artemisia absinthium

4. Herbacious Layer – Perennial vegetables Self seeding annuals Bee & poultry forage Mulch & soil builders, cover crops

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Asparagus Balm Borage Broad bean Buckwheat Calendula Comfrey, Knitbone Dill Fennel French Sorrel Garden Mint Garlic Chives Globe Artichoke Hyssop Lemongrass Lovage Marigold Mint Oregano Parsley Pepino, Pepino Dulce, Melon Pear Perpetual Spinach, Perennial Spinach Phacelia Rhubarb Sorrel Stevia Tansy Yarrow Asparagus officinalis Melissa officinalis Vicia faba Calendula officinalis Symphytum officinale Foeniculum vulgare Rumex scutatus Mentha sachalinensis Allium tuberosum Cynara scolymus Cymbopogon spp Levisticum officinale Tagetes Mentha spp. Petroselinum spp. Solanum muricatum Beta vulgaris var. cicla Rheum rhabarbarum Rumex acetosa Stevia rebaudiana Tanacetum vulgare

5. Ground cover Layer Less than 30cm high Low, prostrate, creeping plants Forms a living mulch – retain, suppress weed growth

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Alpine Strawberries, Alyssum, Basil Thyme, Black Cumin, Clover, Coral Pea, Corsican Mint, Cranberry, Creeping Oregon Grape, Creeping Snowberry, Creeping Thyme, Fat hen, Ground Elder, Kamchatka Bilberry, Lingonberries, Lowbush Blueberries, Marshmallow. Miner’s Lettuce, Nasturtium, Pigface, Prostrate Rosemary, Roman Chamomile, Running Postman, Sweet Violets, Vervain, Warrigal Greens/New Zealand Spinach, Wintergreen / Boxberry / Eastern Teaberry, Fragaria x vesca , Acinos arvensi , Nigella Sativa  Trifolium Hardenbergia violacea Mentha requienii Vaccinium Oxycoccus spp. Mahonia aquifolium Gaultheria hispidula Thymus serpyllum Aegopodium podagraria Vaccinium praestans Vaccinium vitis-idaea Vaccinium angustifolium Tropaeolum majus Carpobrotus modestus Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’ or ‘Huntington Carpet’ Chamaemelum nobile Kennedia spp. Verbena officinali Tetragonia tetragonoides Gaultheria procumbens

6. Rhizosphere (Root) Layer Edible roots & tubers Shallow rooted, easy to dig Longer rooted left to flower for beneficial insects

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Arrowroot, Beetroot, Carrot, Cassava (Tapioca), Chicory, Chives, Daikon, Daylilly, Echinacea, Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng, Groundnut, Horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, Liquorice, Native ginger, Oca, New Zealand Yam, Onion, Parsnip, Potato, Salsify, Sweet Potato ( ”Bush Porto Rico’ or ‘Centennial’), Tree Onions, Egyptian Walking Onions, Welsh onion, Japanese bunching onion, Yacon, Yam Daisy, Maranta arundinacea, Beta vulgaris , Daucus carota sativus , Manihot esculenta , Cichorium intybus , Allium schoenoprasum , Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus , Hemerocallis fulva , Echinacea angustifolia / purpurea , Allium sativum , Zingiber officinale , Apios americana , Armoracia rusticana , Helianthus tuberosum , Glycyrrhiza spp , Hornstedtia scottiana , Oxalis tuberosa , Allium cepa , Pastinaca sativa , Solanum tuberosum , Tragopogon spp. , Ipomoea batatas , Allium cepa var. proliferum , Allium fistulosum , Smallanthus sonchifolius , Microseris scapigera

7. Vertical Layer Climbers, creepers, vines Twine around trunks or up fences, trellises, etc. Habitat and food

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Cantaloupe, Chokos, Climbing peas, Coral Pea, Cucumbers, Grape -Sultana, Grapes, Honeydew Melon, Honeysuckle (Blue-berried or Sweetberry), Hops, Kiwi Berry / Hardy Kiwifruit, Kiwi fruit, Malabar Spinach, Maypop, Nasturtium (Climbing), Passionfruit, Perennial bean (scarlet runner bean), Pumpkin, Soybean, Squash, Sweet Potato ( ”Bush Porto Rico’ or ‘Centennial’), Watermelon, Wild grape, Zucchini, Cucumis melo reticulatus Hardenbergia violacea , Cucumis sativus,  Vitis vinifera,  Vitis spp , Cucumis melo inodorus, Lonicera caerulea , Humulus lupulus , Actinidia arguta , Actinidia spp , Basella alba ‘Rubra’ , Passiflora incarnata , Passiflora edulis , Cucurbita pepo , Glycine max , Cucurbita,  Ipomoea batatas , Citrullus lanatus

Blog 62-365

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About lilianausvat

My Websites: Books: http://www.ucbooksale.com/ Math Website: http://www.mathematicsmagazine.com Reforestation: http://lilianausvat.blogspot.ca/ Real Estate: http://www.lilianausvat.com/
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