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Edible Forest Gardens Volume 1 and 2 by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

 
Adrien Lapointe
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Summary

Edible Forest Gardens is a two volumes set that lays out the basis of forest gardens in a temperate climate. Volume 1 is more about the theory behind the system and Volume 2 focuses on the pratical considerations.

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Volumes 1&2





Where to get it?

Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk
Powell's
Vol 1 at Green Shopping
Vol 2 at Green Shopping

Related Videos



Related Threads

Food Forest Forum at Permies

Related Websites
Eric Toensmeier'sWebsite
Edible Forest Gardens Website
 
Brenda Groth
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I have just read both of these books for the second time...and highly recommend them. However, if you can only afford ONE volume buy volume one..it is by far the best of the two especially if you are somewhat experienced..as Volume 2 is more for the true beginner or those just starting a new garden.

After reading volume 1 again for the second time I still learned a few new things I either didn't notice last time I read it or I had already forgotten..great info in that volume.

 
Alex Slater
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I partially agree with Brenda - the books are superb and I learn something new each time I read them. However I think I'd be more inclined to suggest Volume 2 if you could only afford one volume (obviously having both is ideal!). My reasoning for that is primarily down to the huge volume of tables and matrices (notably the plant species matrix in Appendix 1) plus it's the more practical of the two volumes - you will constantly come back to it as a reference. In some ways volume 1 is sort of "preaching to the converted" - especially "Part one:Vision" as pretty much you're a fan of forest gardens if you've got the books . But of course there's a wealth of information in both volumes that isn't available anywhere else (i.e. the excellent case studies in Volume 1 - especially of Robert Hart's famous forest garden which reads like an honest (i.e. isn't afraid to point out issues) study that is informed by practical experience of one of the few established forest gardens).

Don't get me wrong though both volumes together are by far the best and you'd never regret making the investment - picking one volume over the other either way is doing yourself out of some excellent information and reference material.
 
Henry Wright
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Could anyone tell me if these books are still of use to someone in Zone 8A ( East Texas )?
I have been looking for this type information but applicable to our area as we are in the planning stages of putting in food forest.
 
Ronaldo Montoya
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Hi, i bought the volume 2 but it doesnt talk anything about bread fruit.

I was wondering, Is there a special reason for this?


 
Jen Shrock
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I had to look up bread fruit. It appears to be a tropical fruit. I am not sure if it is common in the United States. Keep in mind, it is not possible for one single resource to cover every plant/tree that there is. To quote the book at the start of Appendix 1, "The Plant Species Matrix can help you analuze and asses the niches of 626 useful and functional plants."

I looked at the chart in volume 2 that starts on page 468. It appears to cover a range of vegetation for USDA hardiness zones 2 - 10. There seems to be a little more vegetation listed for temperate climates (zones 4-7), but there are things listed for the entire range mentioned.
 
Ronaldo Montoya
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Hi Jen, what does temperate climates mean?

I have land in a valley in Peru where there is sun all the year ( always is hot) but never rains , but theres always a lot of water available from the river and channels around the lands.

Do you think this can be considered temperate climate?

Do you think it would work planting bread fruit?






Jen Shrock wrote:I had to look up bread fruit. It appears to be a tropical fruit. I am not sure if it is common in the United States. Keep in mind, it is not possible for one single resource to cover every plant/tree that there is. To quote the book at the start of Appendix 1, "The Plant Species Matrix can help you analuze and asses the niches of 626 useful and functional plants."

I looked at the chart in volume 2 that starts on page 468. It appears to cover a range of vegetation for USDA hardiness zones 2 - 10. There seems to be a little more vegetation listed for temperate climates (zones 4-7), but there are things listed for the entire range mentioned.
 
Cam Mitchell
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FWIW, I belive Dave/Eric talk about the books being specifically made for the humid temperate NE US, down to just about the deep south, west to about Missouri (there's a map in Vol 1, IIRC).
They mentioned that there was no guide for this area, as most "food forest" guilds/guides were for tropical locales.
Also, they said the principles should apply over much of the US, though with modification, probably more severe for drylands like mine.

@Ronaldo Montoya: The mighty wikipedia
However, my definition (perhaps not the majority) is a little tigher than that. I would consider "temperate" to mean 4 relatively equal distinct seasons, with snow in winter.
Though, this is probably my cultural and climactic bias. That would probably more accurately be called "cool/cold humid temperate", but not arctic.
Funnily enough, (and as opinionated as I am) this is actually not where I live. I don't have 4 equal seasons as I would like (it's semi-arid/arid, with dry hot summers and cold winters), though I do get snow in winter. Hope this helps.
 
Bippy Grace
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Henry Wright wrote:Could anyone tell me if these books are still of use to someone in Zone 8A ( East Texas )?
I have been looking for this type information but applicable to our area as we are in the planning stages of putting in food forest.


I'm in Central Texas (8b) and found the books useful. You won't be able to use all the species that they talk about, but we have things they can't really plant (like figs. I feel smug about fresh figs, it ALMOST makes up for not getting to have lilacs and peonies!)

On the other hand, there's lots of good resources for us further south as far as plant choices- almost everything geoff lawton has done, for instance, will work in zone 8, with the exception of the most tender of tropical plants. And there's a lot of the little known perennial species that are darn useful, that will grow in our area. I'd also suggest picking up Eric's fantastic Perennial Vegetables, I think only 3 or 4 of the plants in that entire book won't work for us (I can't check right now, my copy is over at a friends house- good sign of a useful book, yeah?).

If nothing else, pick them up at your library and see if you want to keep them around. I think they're amazing reference manuals to have on hand when designing systems.
 
Jen Shrock
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Ronaldo - I really am not familiar with Bread Fruit myself. I would do some research online to see if it seems to be suitable for your area. Based on what little you noted, with a lot of irrigation, I would suspect that it might be possible. One thing that Geoff Lawton often suggests, to help determine what might thrive where you are at, is to look around the globe for similar latitude/elevation sites with similar locations from major bodies of water (Pacific Ocean) and similar climates. This would help yout to get a feel for what is possible. It is often possible to create microclimates that are suitable for what you want to grow.

I know that it has a long grow to yield time frame, but what would it hurt to just try it? It never hurts to experiment and you might be surprised by what you discover. I must admit, it sounds like a very interesting tree and fruit.
 
Henry Wright
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Thanks Bippy, that's just the info I was looking for.
 
Burra Maluca
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For anyone with an interest in these books, we're hoping to run a weekly study group of volume one, starting in the new year. Details to be announced.

Watch this space!
 
Will Holland
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Definitely interested in the study group. I read vol. 1 over the summer. Tried to get my wife to read it so we couod have our own study group but that didn't work out.
 
Simon Johnson
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I just finished reading vol 2 of this set and wrote up a review at my blog. As always, here it is for my fellow permies.

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 acorns!

On to the next book review!

I just finished reading Edible Forest Gardens Vol. 2 by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. I powered my way through this book over the last two weeks eager to see what they had to say next. Definitely an excellent book for those interested in designing food forests.

At first glance, this book looks like a pretty intimidating read, clocking in at over 650 text book size pages. But once you open it and have a look around, it turns out that 200 pages are dedicated to very detailed plant function tables, recommended readings, bibliography, and indexes, making this book a most excellent reference guide for future consultation. I have yet to come across a book with more detailed tables and lists to make your forest garden designing easier.

But let's get to the actual information presented in this book. The first chapter starts things off with an introduction to issues and strategies in forest garden design and management. I have not read the first volume in this two part book series (could only afford one; not cheap books), but I believe this first chapter to be some what of a summary of a lot of the things discussed in the first volume. The authors refer back to the first volume on many occasions in this chapter. Overall this is a good introduction into what forest gardening is all about. Very useful breakdown of the ideas for the first time forest gardener.

The authors move on in the next chapter to talk about patterns in the forest garden. A little explanation into what patterns are and then they move right into a long list of design patterns that can be used to your benefit. This list is really cool. Instead of talking about abstract ideas of patterns, they break it down to very real things to think about when designing and how it all works in a forest garden. Some examples of these patterns are: Habitat Diversity, Outdoor Living Rooms, Zones of Water Use, Temporary Shrublands, Keyhole Beds, and Ground Cover Carpets. Very nice, useful chapter on patterns in a forest garden setting.

After outlining many forest garden patterns to use in design, the book moves on to the design process and in particular, the overview, goals and assessment part. The detail from the last chapter continues here. The authors go through a few ways to articulate your goals for your forest garden design. These exercises are very nicely presented in order of complexity. Depending on how you function, you will find a nice way of getting a clear goal to work towards. During and/or after goal setting you will want to assess and analyze the site for the garden. This part is again very detailed with the emphasis on choosing the way you like to go about accomplishing the certain tasks.

There is a theme throughout the book of the authors going through each stage of planning in the utmost detail. They set it up in such a way that you can choose which way you want to go about it. So if you are into planning each little thing with lots of detail, it's here for you and if you just want to go through the basic planning and use more intuition, you can do that too. They emphasize going with what works best for you many times.

Once your goals are mostly clear, the process moves on to the design phase. Here they talk about the four realms of forest garden design: infrastructure (features, functions, and elements like beneficial animal habitats), vegetation architecture (habitat design), vegetation dynamics (plant succession design), and social structure (in terms of guild and polyculture design). The authors go into detail on each of the realms and then go on to talk about how to design with those realms in mind. Here many of the patterns outlined in the second chapter are referred to. This chapter is also very good with lots of pictures of the plans they used to design one of the authors back yards. You get a real sense of what is involved and how it starts to all come together through planning. So much to think about in the design phase and they lay it all out here in a nice, easy to follow way.

After all that planning it is finally time to begin the site preparation. The authors emphasize how important good site preparation is in relation to how much work you want to do maintaining the system in the future. Good site prep can greatly reduce the number of and vigour of the weeds present. They go through a bunch of different techniques to preparing a site, but seem to focus a lot on sheet mulching as their main technique for weed suppression. I am of the group of permaculture folks who isn't too keen on using newspaper and cardboard in the garden, so I would do things differently here, but sheet mulching does seem to work. Lots of info here on amending the soil, dealing with unwanted plants, setting up irrigation (also not a fan of this), setting up pit and mound planting, plus more.

Once the site is prepped, it is time to begin planting. This section goes into lots of good detail on how to put plants in the ground, where to get them and many other things to think about along the way. I found there was a lack of talk about starting your own seed here. They almost exclusively dealt with nursery plants. But the information presented on planting those plants is excellent.

The book ends with a chapter on managing, maintaining, and coevolving with the garden. A nice little bit on what can be expect through the years. From dealing with weeds, to maintaining the polycultures, evolving the system and harvesting. A nice section on evolving with the garden through plant breeding and selection. They talk about how forest garden plants haven't been bread very much and it's time for us small time, back yard tinkerers to get the ball rolling.

Overall this is an awesome book. So much information with nice tables and pictures throughout to help you better understand the content. Again, the indexes are a totally amazing resource. The book is well written with a nice attention to detail, while still allowing for creativity in design. I would say anyone interested in this subject would benefit greatly from reading this book, especially newcomers. This book is especially useful for those with small properties to design. Much of the detail in this book is simply too much when working on a larger scale, but for a backyard food forest garden, I would say it's excellent. Definitely something I will be referring back to in the future.

For some more info and links to buy, go check out the page about this book on permies.com.
 
Ann Torrence
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The Winter 2015 read-along for Volume 1 begins on January 4. Here's the thread with the details.
 
chad Christopher
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Big fat ten.

Would any other rating be applicable?

Simply, one of the permiculture god persons.

I'm once again lucky enough to have David jackie live near me. This volume is a text book. These two books should be as standard as McNeil. Information rich, straight to the point, no nonsense book that should be a mandatory read for anyone that lives east of the Mississippi. But at the same time, I is applicable to any region.
 
Lorenzo Costa
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I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns

This is one of the milestone books in permaculture of the last years, it will become a classic and be on our tables as an enciclopedic reference for edible forest gardens in temperate climates. This is one aspect that has to be kept in mind, the book is based on the study of temperate climatic forest gardens. Is it useful only for this climatic region? no, I think these sort of works can have a larger public, because the theory in them speaks to anybody in any climate. If we take the work only as a compilation of plants that can grow in a temperate climate we miss a lot of what its sharing.
The book shares a vision, and the ideas in it are made up by trials and errors done by many different people in different sites, but these don't speak only to a certain climatic reader but to all of us in the permaculture movement, or agroforestry world. Yes because the book is a big hit even for agroforestry work centered people, it opens their minds, it shows how we can think in a different way.
The authors have done something that is incredible they have put together all we have learned from the imitation of temperate forests, discussing the subject with many people over the years. This is one of those works thats sits in the mind of an author for some time, it's the sort of book people passionate about a science would like to write. After getting started books like these undergo a long period of field research and discussion with those that have their hands in the understory.
You can see all this while reading the book because the authors have written sections throughout the two volumes dedicated to people they spoke with, describing their work and achievements, Robert Hart, Martin Crawford just to name two.
The book is made up of two volumes. Is there one that is better? I guess not, One can buy the book and not read it all by once, but you'll get to the day, when having the two volumes will come in handy, because its tied together its an evolving, revolving research that moves on from the point its got too, to the next.
One can focus on single chapters but why loose some parts of a fascinating work? The newbie will have to read it all, and the elders will read it all, the same in the end.
Throughout the two volumes the reader is taken from first theory of patterning in design of forest gardens to actual practical design and spacing of elements, and final management in time. The starting chapters on the history of north american forests is beautiful to read, I got lost in it.
The second volume ends with a big section made up of appendices, with lots of information that is a good base for designers of forest gardens. You could really just buy the book just for the appendices, they are 200 hundred pages of plant databases!
I love to work with this book, accompanied by Martin Crawfords works on forest gardens where you can find more of a compilation of plants species with photos that make it visually more direct. The editor and the authors of edible forest gardens decided to limit the number of photos and of course for the number of plants here described it would have taken a third volume.
For me this work was an encounter i did when a real newbie but it was mind opening. I think it is a cold winter evening read, on which the reader has to think over, and winter is, for those that work outside, the best period for this sort of deep reading.
For forest gardeners this two volume work is the equivalent of the permaculture designers manual for the permaculture movement.



 
Miles Flansburg
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I give these books a 10 out of 10 acorns.

Wow ! I was blown away by these books. The authors spend many years of their lives putting together what I believe is a classic of permaculture literature!
Volume one talks about the history of forest gardening and explains why forests work the way they do and why we should try to duplicate mother natures designs.
Volume two carries the ideas forward with tons of information , gathered together in one place, for use in designing our dream landscapes.
I will treasure these books and read them again and again to get as much out of them as I can.
 
Todd Parr
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I ordered both volumes. I'm about halfway thru volume 1 and I have to say, the information is a little overwhelming. I already have a few tree guilds and extensive "back to eden" gardens. While I appreciate the time and effort that went into these books, reading volume 1 is just about enough to make a person say the hell with it and go back to regular gardening. I'm hoping that I'm simply over-complicating it and volume 2 is a little more straight to the point and gives details on how exactly a person goes about accomplishing all that is talked about in the first book. If not, I'm just going to keep building tree guilds with some space in between and hope for the best.
 
Michael Newby
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I give these books a 10 out of 10 acorns.

What can I say? talk about a wealth of information! One of the few true reference books that covers a whole range of techniques, not just one persons applications of a few specific techniques.

This is one of those books that I find myself going back to repeatedly when tackling different real-world problems that either I myself of clients of mine may have. I've only had the books a few months and they already show more wear than some of the older 'reference' books I have on my shelf.
 
Richard Gorny
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.

The amount of information squeezed in these books is incredible.

Volume 1 contains theory of design of food forests and reasoning behind creating one. It explains strategies, concepts and forest patterns.

I return to Volume 2 for reference when designing small subsequent parts of my land. Its appendices contain enormous amount of plant data in easy to use form.

I have to re-read this book at least once more, slowly and thoroughly in order to assimilate it fully, this book certainly deserves double read.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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