Less than 15 hours left in our kickstarter!

New rewards and stretch goals. CLICK HERE!



  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Making an Edible Food Forest Patch - anyone done it before?  RSS feed

 
Samuel Morton
Posts: 55
Location: West London, UK
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Morning all,

Me & my aunty managed to get in a couple of fruit trees yesterday in an allotment patch which is roughly 4ft wide & 8 metres long (sorry for the mix of measurements!) and so we planted them a good distance apart to give them enough space.

However, I would like to utilise the rest of this area as I don't want it to go to waste and I know if I don't the weeds will take over (like on my next door neighbours gooseberry bush patch) so i was thinking of planting an edible food forest patch.

The fruit trees would be the 'canopy' and I was thinking of planting in gooseberry & other fruit bushes, in addition to some rhubarb and lots of strawberries to mimic the undergrowth (I would rather have some not so productive strawberries as opposed to weeds.

Any advice? Have you done something similar?

Many thanks,

Samuel
 
Samuel Morton
Posts: 55
Location: West London, UK
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Also what edibles did you use?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Samuel and welcome to Permies!

Could you tell us where you are located, what climate you're in, how much rainfall, etc? That way people in a similar climate and situation can answer your specific questions about species, etc. You can also update your profile to show this information.

As for making a food forest patch - absolutely you can do it.
 
Samuel Morton
Posts: 55
Location: West London, UK
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah, apologies!

I will update my profile now.

I live in West London, UK
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3725
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
86
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
4 x 24 is a pretty small space. Have you thought about mapping it out. You may want to account for a path. Comfrey (sterile) around the fruit trees will provide nutrient/mulch.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gaia's Garden - a Guide to Homescale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway may be of use to you - he has diagrams for small space food forests in that book.

Using dwarf/espaliered trees to start a guild, you could then build out the rest of the space with compatible plantings. As I am from the hot desert - I'm of no use in recommending species for your climate. Also note that the UK has a long history of growing "step-over" apples. I know permaculture occurs for most people as something you need acreage to implement - but in reality, small systems can be very, very productive and beautiful.
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 358
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
17
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Gaia's Garden - a Guide to Homescale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway may be of use to you - he has diagrams for small space food forests in that book.

I got this book for Christmas, and I'm itching to get moving on my tiny food forest. I have planted two apples, a cherry, an almond (crossing fingers for this one!), and two blackcurrants. I also have ordered some native trees: crabapple, pear; and some non-edible nitrogen fixers: alder and laburnum. I'm hoping to nick some raspberry canes off my mother in law in London this week, too!

I also have a few perennial herbs: rosemary, hyssop, chives, oregano, mint, lemon balm, garlic, lavender.

And I have rhubarb and daylily, also edible. My small son and I have started harvesting the daylily shoots this week; we both really like them.

And since we are in the same climate, I can recommend nasturtiums as a ground cover to suppress weeds. Ours self-seed prolifically, and I use the flowers in salads and the leaves cooked in stews (like spinach). And they provide lots of biomass. And look pretty!

But actually, my view on weeds has really changed since I read gaia's garden. You can eat most of the weeds in this country, and many of them are nutrient accumulators; I let mine grow, and just chop and drop when they get too tall. I even eat some of them; a few young spring dandelions are good mixed in with a salad, and young nettle tops are a good addition to stews and casseroles, in my opinion.
 
Samantha Langlois
Posts: 40
Location: Whitefish, MT
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Samuel,

There is some great information in toby hemenway's online course Food Forest Design& Care for Cities and Suburbs. You might find it really helpful as you design your food forest patch.

Here is the intro video to the course:



Good Luck,
Sam
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Samuel, one of the leading lights in food forest development is in the UK, fellow by the name of Martin Crawford. He has a very good book out about designing a food forest, discussing all the various elements and providing lots of plant suggestions - enough to be a bit overwhelming, even

The title is "Creating a Forest Garden" and I strongly recommend it. Bonus is it is UK centric
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's a pretty small space, but totally doable.
The thing is, unless your trees are super dwarfs, they'll outgrow that 4ft in no time at all.
I have most of my fruit trees espaliered; which basically makes a three-dimensional tree two-dimensional.
Sounds fiddly, but if you have a North-South wall/fence, it's really simple.
Samuel Morton wrote: I would like to utilise the rest of this area as I don't want it to go to waste and I know if I don't the weeds will take over

I'd say you won't have as much room as you think!
Weeds: do you have running grasses? That calls for sheet-mulching.
If not, I mulch really heavily (at least 150mm) with chipped tree mulch, straight onto the weeds.
That black perforated drainage pipe around trunks avoids collar-rot.
Comfrey. Of course.
I generally avoid root crops around trees; they have shallow feeder roots.
Clovers, especially subterranean, red and white.
Spring bulbs like daffodils etc.
 
220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!