• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Jay
  • Anne Miller
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Daron Williams

size of patches  RSS feed

Posts: 120
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, i been reading that for making a forest garden it is a good idea to divide the forest into patches with diversity between them.

Which is the ideal size of a patch?
How many fruit tree should a patch have?

garden master
Posts: 2266
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
books forest garden greening the desert tiny house transportation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are various ways of planning a food forest. You do not have to go by patches alone. Planning a food forest can be so many different things.

Here are some ways of thinking about it:

Guilds are where supporter species are added around the center tree and together they make a guild. Typically, in a guild there are the following elements: main/focus plant, dynamic accumulators, pollinator attractors, predatory insect habitat, and ground cover. Here is a run-through of the topic by Permaculture Global. Here is Toby Hemenway on guilds:

Planning by zones and sectors involves planning the food forest by how often places are visited and what elements are affecting areas of the property. Here is DeepGreen Permaculture's article about zones and sectors.
Here is a video by Michael Pilarski about zones, sectors, and elevation planning:

Posts: 1482
Location: northern California
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I find that thinking and working in patches is the best approach to any kind of site with an established wild ecosystem in place, even at relatively early stages of succession I learned the hard way on multiple sites that "tucking in" isolated new plants here and there in an existing forest of any age, or thicket, or meadow; is usually a prescription for failure. The root networks of the surrounding wild vegetation will be attracted to the disturbed, enriched, and probably irrigated spots where the new plants are. I've even found after a few months that plants I was watering regularly were drying out FASTER than those going without! So it proved better, to me, to design my new plantings in groups...patches large enough to create sizeable gaps in the root network (and overhead canopy as well) to give the new plants a chance to establish. Such groups make watering and fencing easier too, since you are doing these things to the whole cluster and not individual plants.
A very good way to use succession in forest garden patches is to start them out as annual gardens, with your useful trees and perennials planted right in there too. Or, to see it another way....you lay out your planting with the trees, etc. at their mature spacings, and then you have all this space available between them, which the plants will eventually fill in and shade....why not fill that space with something useful in the meantime. So stick your vegetables, corn, wheat, whatever in there in the meantime. The additional attention, water, soil amendments, etc. that you will be providing for the short-term benefit of the annuals will also hugely benefit the trees and perennials. When the patch begins to fill in....move the "garden" to the next patch and continue!
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! And this tiny ad too!
PEP1 Certification workshop/gathering/event May/June 2019
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!