Creating a Forest Garden

Creating a Forest Garden : Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops

4.41 (323 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Photographs by 

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Forest Gardening (or Agroforestry) is a way of growing edible crops with nature doing most of the work. A forest garden imitates young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops grown in different vertical layers. Species are chosen for their beneficial effects on each other, creating a healthy system that maintains its own fertility, with little need for digging, weeding or pest control. The result of this largely perennial planting is a tranquil and beautiful, but also productive space. Whether a small area in your back garden or a larger plot, here is advice on how to create a forest garden with great environmental benefits: from planning and design (using permaculture principles) to planting and maintenance. With a changing climate, we must grow food sustainably, without compromising soil health, food quality or biodiversity and Forest Gardening offers an exciting solution to the challenge.

Creating a Forest Garden also includes a detailed directory of over 500 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, annuals, root crops and climbers - almost all of them edible and many very unusual. As well as more familiar plants you can grow your own chokeberries, goji berries, yams, heartnuts, bamboo shoots and buffalo currants.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 220 x 275 x 33.02mm | 1,769.01g
  • Totnes, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1st
  • full colour illus
  • 1900322625
  • 9781900322621
  • 39,912

Table of contents

Foreword by Rob Hopkins


Part 1: How forest gardens work

1. Forest gardens

2. Forest garden features and products

3. The effects of climate change

4. Natives and exotics

5. Emulating forest conditions

6. Fertility in forest gardens

Part 2: Designing your forest garden

7. Ground preparation and planting

8. Growing your own plants

9. First design steps

10. Designing wind protection

11. Canopy species

12. Designing the canopy layer

13. Shrub species

14. Designing the shrub layer

15. Herbaceous perennial and ground-cover species

16. Designing the perennial/ground-cover layer

17. Annuals, biennials and climbers

18. Designing with annuals, biennials and climbers

Part 3: Extra design elements and maintenance

19. Clearings

20. Paths

21. Fungi in forest gardens

22. Harvesting and preserving

23. Maintenance

24. Ongoing tasks


Appendix 1: Propagation tables

Appendix 2: Trees and shrubs for hedging and fencing

Appendix 3: Plants to attract beneficial insects and bees

Appendix 4: Edible crops by month of use

Resources: Useful organisations, suppliers and publications
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Review quote

This is a seminal piece of work on truly sustainable gardening, written with great spirit and soul. * Alys Fowler, TV presenter and author of The Edible Garden * The ultimate book on the subject... extremely thorough and beautifully illustrated. * Let's Talk (East Anglia) * A magnificiently produced tome that is sure to become every forest gardener's horticultural toolkit and bible. * Grow It! * Martin has produced a book that is not only visually beautiful but very practical, offering advice on planning, designing, planting and general maintenance. * Positive News * Visually stunning with beautiful photography and illustrations, accompanying very informative and well constructed text. * Self Sufficient-ish Website * This book offers bountiful food for thought. If you are considering the creation or maintenance of a forest garden, then you would do well to have this book on your shelves. * Green Prophet * This book is a must if you are interested in producing food from your garden, becoming more self-sufficient or just curious about plants and their uses. * The Cottage Gardener * This seminal piece of work is not only visually enthralling, it's incredibly easy to use. It contains a level of detail and explanation that makes it a must read for anyone who is serious about building a truly sustainable forest. * WWOOF Ireland *
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About Martin Crawford

Martin Crawford has worked in organic agriculture and horticulture for many years. He is director of the Agroforestry Research Trust, a charity that researches temperate agroforestry and all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops.
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Rating details

323 ratings
4.41 out of 5 stars
5 54% (173)
4 35% (112)
3 11% (35)
2 1% (2)
1 0% (1)

Our customer reviews

Very well written, so anyone can understand the process of planning and establishing a food forest. Mayn things are explained in detail and there are lots of pictures and data on several different plants you can put in each layer. The book is divided into logical successive chapters which makes it easier to understand individual steps. I was (positively) surprized of the amount of information and experience of the author. I recommend buying it. It's worth much more than you will more
by Tadej
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