Food forest – so easy, any garden can have one!

Food forest – so easy, any garden can have one!

Another feature of any good garden of Permaculture is a food forest.

A food forest can be big or small, or just a few plants, growing in companionship with each other over several canopy levels. This mini forest could just be the crop of plants in the corner of your garden.

Nature grows in a highly optimised pattern, utilising multiple layers and making the most of both horizontal and vertical space.

A food forest may not have all seven layers, but it does have multiple layers, and even more importantly, it is a virtually self-sustaining living ecosystem.

A food forest offers:
– High Productivity
– Natural Mulch, Compost & Fertiliser
– Natural Pest Control
– Resilience Through Biodiversity – Strength in Numbers
– Easy Soil Repair – Chop n’ Drop.

Real forests do not need any work, they self-maintain — no pesticides, herbicides, weeding, crop rotation, mowing or digging. Food forests do not need any of this either – less work, more food, all natural.

A food forest typically is comprised of seven layers:
– High canopy: The canopy layer is comprised of tall trees — typically large fruit and nut trees.

– Low canopy: Between the tall canopy layer trees, there is a layer of low growing, typically dwarf fruit trees.

– Shrubs: Nestled between all the small trees are the shrubs – which are well represented by currants and berries.

– Low shrubs: Filling the remaining space are the herbaceous layer, these are the culinary and medicinal herbs, companion plants, bee-forage plants and poultry forage plants.

– Ground cover: Any remaining space is occupied by ground cover plants. These form a living mulch that protects the soil, reduces water loss to evaporation, and prevents weeds growing.

– Underground root level: We can still go a level deeper to the rhizosphere, or root zone, the underground level which is occupied by all our root crops, such as potatoes, carrots, ginger, yacon, etc.

– Vertical Vines: While that might seem like a lot of plants in one space, we still have one more to fill, the upright vertical space. This is filled by climbers and vines, which can be run up trellises, arbours, fences, trees or any other vertical support. This category includes grapes, climbing beans, many berries, passionfruit, kiwi fruit, climbing peas, chokos and many other species that love to climb.

Thank you – http://permaculturenews.org/2011/10/21/why-food-forests/

Food_forest_layers

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