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Designing a Forest Garden for 12th Grade Environmental Science

 
Jovan Millet
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Hello,

My name's Jovan Millet. I'm a Senior in high school in California. In our 12th grade year, we are required to take an Environmental Science course, and my Senior project in this class is, with a partner, to design a home that incorporates and combines both modern architecture, luxury, and technology with the tenets of permaculture in order to create a space that is both comfortable and modern as well as sustainable and in touch with nature.

We have several ideas bouncing around, such as trying to mimic the efficient paths that Mother Nature takes to deliver water and energy through leaves, as well as our plans to meet Energy Star building requirements. Another idea that we both want to implement is a forest garden around the property of the house we'll design, in order that the (fake) residents don't need to go out for groceries, and have all they'd need right on their property for free. There's just one problem with this grand idea of ours:

Neither of us know how to build a forest garden. We know what it is, and what it entails. But neither of us know the logistics involved, the kinds of plants one would be likely to find in a forest garden, various tips and tricks that other farmers have learned over the years of when and where to plant their crops and trees. We're wondering if y'all here at Permies.com could help us out with this, and give us the advice you know about growing forest gardens.

Thank you very much for reading this. We hope to hear from y'all soon!

-- Jovan Millet
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Jovan, welcome to permies ! I was wondering if you might find your answers somewhere here?

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-116/forest-garden
 
Jovan Millet
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Wyomiles Hogan wrote:Howdy Jovan, welcome to permies ! I was wondering if you might find your answers somewhere here?

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-116/forest-garden


Howdy, and thank you for the warm welcome! I didn't even see that subforum, and it seems really useful. Would it be beneficial to me to repost my topic there instead of here?
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Ya it wouldn't hurt .
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Where is your location, aka cold alaska vs hot florida.
How much money do you have to spend.
How much land are you working with.
Do you have 15 years to wait for a walnut tree or just 3 months for tomatoes.
If you call it a forest garden I think that you your time frame should be at least 5 years for nuts and fruit trees.

For nuts you can focus on hazelnut, almond, sweet kernel apricots, yellowhorn, 10ft chestnut.
For vines, there is maypop passionfruit, grapes, kiwi

You will also need watering system like rainbarrel/swale/pond filled with rain water from roof, hugelkultur.





 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Jovan, welcome to permies. I added your topic to a few other forums to broaden your search for answers. good luck!
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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There is a concept called 'Low Impact Development' that is relatively hip among the landscape architecture set... it involves attempting to restore and mimic the ability of the landscape to infiltrate rainwater like it did in its natural state. Much of Permie design can masquerade as LID and vice versa. When talking about the ecological services of your design, you can also talk about carbon sequestration, biodiversity, or . You'll likely need to fill in more details about your imaginary site... plot size, landscape position, climate, off site factors affecting design. Maybe interview some 'normal homeowners' and identify their idea of their 'problems' and design to their ears.
Good luck...
 
Josh T-Hansen
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Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Hey, this is an awesome thing to do for an environmental class.
The bad thing for your situation is that they don't look like much in the early years. The good thing is that they always work, even if mistakes are made.
Martin Crawfords book on the subject is what i'd recommend for you because it doesn't beat around the bush yet it is balanced with detailed info. other books have some cool mandala plant configurations that might make sense in a small demonstration plot.

very basic steps for the instant garden:
put down a degradable weed block layer if needed to smother really tough grass. (or just till existing vegetation this one time for establishment)
throw a little manure on that
transplant everything
either mulch around those or lay a thin layer of topsoil down and then sow clover and/or other useful seeds(the latter option is going to require more water)
woodchip pathways with branches denoting the beds are a nice touch, but it is even easier to plant in rows/alleys on a larger scale with an easily mowable strip in between.

also consider just doing planting a nucleus around each tree which can be expanded to connect over time.
 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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my bad here, but just to set the record straight, Edible forest gardens (vol 2) may be more helpful because it has fantastic goals and design methodologies which are very useful in groups.
 
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