What is a Forest Garden?
According to the Agroforestry Research Trust, a Forest Garden is
” a designed agronomic system based on trees, shrubs and perennial plants. These are mixed in such a way as to mimic the structure of a natural forest – the most stable and sustainable type of ecosystem in this climate.”
It is the way that Nature herself works in many settings, with trees providing cover and protection for an array of bushes and smaller plants that flourish in harmony closer to the earth. They take a lot of careful planning to set up, to get the balance right, but once established they can provide a very good return for the space.
They don’t have to be huge, either – you don’t have to own a whole forest to have one – when done well, they can be scaled down to domestic garden size.
With growing pressure on land, and with increasing numbers of people wanting to grow their own fruit and vegetables, if only to ensure quality and freshness, this could be the way forward.
A simple forest garden will have three layers – trees, shrubs and ground plants – but why stop there? There can be up to seven layers to include two types of trees, shrubs, herbs, ground cover plants, vines and root crops. Just think how much delicious food you could be growing in this way!
More information from the very informative website of the Agroforestry Research Trust: