Creating a Forest Garden

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

4.42 (353 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 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, beautiful and productive space.

This book is a bible for permaculture and forest gardening, with practical advice on how to create a forest garden, from planning and design to planting and maintenance. It explains how a forest garden is designed from the top down:

the canopy layer first,
then the shrub layer,
the perennial ground-cover layer,
the annuals & biennials
next, the climbers and nitrogen fixers
and finally the clearings, living spaces and paths.

Whether in a small back garden or in a larger plot, the environmental benefits of growing this way are great. Forest Gardens are a viable solution to the challenge of a changing climate: we can grow food sustainably in them without compromising soil health, food quality or biodiversity.

Forest gardens:

store carbon dioxide in the soil and in the woody biomass of the trees and shrubs.
enable the soil to store more water after heavy rains, minimizing flooding and erosion.
boost the health of the ecosystem, ensuring a balance of predators and beneficial insects because mixed planting is crucial to the scheme.
allows the soil to thrive because it is covered with plants all year round.

Creating a Forest Garden includes a detailed directory of over 500 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, annuals, root crops and climbers. As well as more familiar plants such as fig and apple trees, blackcurrants and rosemary shrubs, you can grow your own chokeberries, goji berries, yams, heartnuts, bamboo shoots and buffalo currants.

Forest gardens produce fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, salads, herbs, spices, firewood, mushrooms, medicinal herbs, dye plants, soap plants, and honey from bees.

This book tells you everything you need to create your own forest garden with beautiful illustrations and helpful tips throughout.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 220 x 275 x 28mm | 1,794g
  • Totnes, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1st
  • full colour illus
  • 1900322625
  • 9781900322621
  • 10,310

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

353 ratings
4.42 out of 5 stars
5 55% (193)
4 34% (121)
3 10% (36)
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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