Before I got started on my forest garden patch, I read Jacke and Toensmeier's book. Sat down to do the design, and found that, due to my bounty of invasive weeds, the preponderance of the recommendations were "Place garden elsewhere." Well, that's no fun, so I decided to try competitive exclusion instead. My problems are with burdock, Japanese hops, poison hemlock, and Johnson grass. My soil is calcareous, high in organic matter, low in potassium, and pH 7.6. The garden is a hole in a forest where a couple of big trees were cut down and carted off. Steep east-facing slope.
(For those who are lucky enough not to know about it, Japanese hops is a vine that grows almost an inch per hour. In May, it's little seedlings you can pluck with your fingers. In June, you can mow it or pull it up if you're wearing gloves. In July, it's tough enough to stop a lawnmower. The only thing that kills it is frost.)
In March, I planted crown vetch to steal root space from the vines. I planted Siberian kale to shade the ground. I scattered clover seeds to try and out-grass the grass. And currant bushes because I like currants. I dealt with the pH by digging little holes, filling them with compost, and planting in pure compost. The acids leaching out of the compost neutralize the soil, and the interface between compost and soil seems to have a lot of available calcium.
Results so far: the kale is a smashing success. It's all over the place now. The hemlock didn't stand a chance. A few scrawny seedlings managed to sprout. The Japanese hops, ditto. The other parts didn't work out so well. The clover grew too slowly to stop grass, and the vetch is slower than that. Johnson grass is perfectly happy growing as single, tall plants. I pull them out when I find them, but I'm not winning the race. Burdock just doesn't care. It stomps on anything in its path. (I know lots of people think burdock is a vegetable, but to me it's the reason carrots were invented.)
Conclusion: Dave and Eric were right. I think I've made the site a bit better, but it ain't no forest garden yet. There may be a lot of black plastic in its future.