Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • 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 private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Tiny food forest. Is it possible?  RSS feed

Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi there, this is my first post to the forums but I've been reading as much as I possibly can for a while!
I recently decided to give up my allotment plot, but going to see out the year taking extra special care of the fruit bushes and apple trees that are there with the intention of bringing them home in the winter.
I want to try growing a food forest in my back garden, which is pretty small... In fact, my growing space is tiny! It's also North facing which isn't ideal I know. We do get a nice amount of afternoon sunshine, when the sun is out... I'm in Wales! The soil is lovely and fertile as it had our chickens on it for eight years!
I have a greenhouse that is 8x6ft, with a 'run' down the side of it in which I've planted two autumn raspberries, one summer raspberry, a gooseberry and in front of them are asparagus plants. There's also a lemon balm that I thought was dead but it has recovered. Further up is a young apple tree, a blueberry plant, some more asparagus, welsh onions and spring bulbs that will probably be removed in favour of perennial plants.
Then there are two beds with a grass path inbetween. The largest (4x8ft) has another small apple, one blackcurrant bush, a couple more asparagus plants and lots of wild flowers, bulb flowers, spring flowers and annual veg such as chard, beetroot, runner beans, and courgette. Right in the corner is a tayberry.
The other bed (4x7ft) has my small herb patch, a flowering psb, garlic and regular chives, more asparagus, broad beans and more spring bulbs and wild flower.
There's also a ledge just off the house on which I have potted mint and climbing flowers that are going to moved elsewhere. There's also a trough on a bare bit of ground that's currently home to three small pumpkin plants that are being trained to climb up a frame I made for them.
Outside of this area is the chicken area. We only have three girls left now and they're all getting on! In this area I have my little elder tree which is potted (and caged as the chickens like to destroy it).
Behind all this is my husbands' car port which can definitely not be touched!!
So. There aren't many fruit bushes to bring home, just a blueberry, gooseberry, a couple of rhubarbs and lots of strawberries. But there are six apple trees on the allotment! I know it's not feasible to bring them all home so my mother is going to put them in her garden, but I was hoping to maybe bring my bramley apple back.
Do you think my garden could fit in another tree?
Is it even possible to create a mini food forest in my garden?
If so, how can I optimise the limited space to grow as much food as possible and also be a haven for insects and birds.
I'm prepared to remove plants if needed (I've a feverfew that's spreading like crazy and a hydrangea that was gifted to me that I want to pot up and move out of the garden).
Any suggestions would be wonderful, thank you!
Posts: 5731
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Sara, It sounds to me like your garden is already nearly a food forest.
You can prune fruit trees and create room for a few more, the only thing you want to do is make sure they have some "breathing room" between the branch tips.
Look at some of the books from pre Victorian gardening, these usually have a chapter on the different pruning methods like espalier, which came about to make use of wall space in smallish orchards.
The techniques of the 1600 - 1790 period were mostly developed for small garden space growing to feed a family or families.

You might also want to read up on Bonsai, those techniques fit well when trying to fit more into a small space (tree wise).

Mostly it is a matter of "thinking adjustment", I had a friend in New York City that had an orchard on his balcony.

Posts: 82
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
dog homestead solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sara, the trees you have now may not be suitable, but you could get new trees and train them as Fan fruit trees. these can be trained along a wall and are great producers
as for the Husbands car port. i think you'll find its only the inside you cant touch. if you ask really nice he might let you do something on the out side.

regards Phil
Posts: 1170
Location: Los Angeles, CA
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Absolutely, you can have a small food forest.  If you only had space for one tree, and you planted a diverse understory of plants around that one tree, it would (in my mind) qualitatively be a food "forest".  

How many trees do you think you can fit into your space?  
When it is used for evil, then watch out! When it is used for good, then things are much nicer. Like this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!