Food forest gardens are an intentional and carefully planned garden that mimics the natural forest.

It is a sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly way to grow nutrient dense food.

This guide will give you all the impetus you need to start your own food forest garden.

You will learn about all of the different layers and types of plants that make up food forest gardens.

In addition, you will also learn about how to maintain it year-round so that it can thrive in all climates and conditions.


What are Food Forest Gardens?

A food forest is a type of garden that combines vegetables, fruit and nut trees, perennial shrubs and plants, berry bushes and other edible flowering plants.

The whole garden functions as an ecosystem with roots from the earth below to branches and vines reaching to the sky above.

These are designed to feed man, animals or both in order to produce an abundant food supply.

Starfruit in a food forest garden

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a design system that uses sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices to create self-maintaining ecosystems within the home, community and a region.

Permaculture - David HolmgrenIt seeks to make people aware of their relationship with their surroundings and use that awareness for positive action in regards to how humans should interact with nature.

How to Manage a Food Forest Garden?

A food forest garden mimics a woodland ecosystem.

It can be thought of as a forest in miniature where Mother natures does all the heavy lifting.

The plants are arranged to mimic the layers found in a natural forest, with taller trees at the top, shorter trees and shrubs in the middle, while the bottom layer consists of root crops and ground covers.

There are 9 layers in total to a mature permaculture food forest garden:

  1. Canopy/Tall Tree Layer
  2. Sub-Canopy/Large Shrub Layer
  3. Shrub Layer
  4. Herbaceous Layer
  5. Ground Cover/Creeper Layer
  6. Underground Layer
  7. Vertical/Climber Layer
  8.  Aquatic/Wetland Layer
  9. Mycelial/Fungal Layer

The idea is that this will provide more habitat for wildlife and produce more food than a conventional vegetable garden.

Permies work with nature, not against it. There is no use of herbicides, pesticides or insecticides in an edible forest garden.

Pumpkin ground cover in a food forest garden

Why People Should Start a Food Forest Garden Now

A food forest garden is a permaculture design that mimics a natural forest ecosystem.

It is an excellent way to grow your own healthy, nutrient dense food, achieve food security, save money on groceries and have a more sustainable lifestyle.

A lot of people have been talking about the benefits of growing their own food and how it has changed their lives.

But many people still don’t know what a food forest garden is, how to start one, or why they should even take this on.

This blog post is an introduction to permaculture and will answer all these questions and show you why you should start your own food forest garden now.

The plants in a permaculture forest garden grow together naturally without the use of pesticides or herbicides.

They also intermingle with each other and create a habitat for animals to live in.

A food forest is created by growing fruits, nuts and vegetables together, rather than in a monoculture which is unnatural in nature and the antithesis to permaculture.

What’s the Difference Between a Traditional & Permaculture Garden?

A traditional garden is a garden that has been around for centuries, and is generally characterised by growing crops in rows and the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

Permaculture food forest gardens, on the other hand, are a type of sustainable gardening that focuses on working with nature to grow plants in a way that will not harm the environment.

Permaculture gardens are designed to look natural and blend in with their surroundings.

They are usually smaller than traditional gardens because they don’t include large areas of lawn or ornamental plants.

Permaculture designs are commonly employed to create a more sustainable home vegetable garden.

The Benefits of Having a Food Forest Garden

A food forest garden is a type of garden that mimics the diversity and complexity of a natural forest.

It is an ecosystem in which the different layers from the soil to the canopy are integrated, with each plant and animal playing its own role.

Pests are controlled through natural predators, and fertilisation is provided by trees that drop leaves, fruits and nuts on the ground below them.

These gardens can produce more food than conventional gardens, while requiring less energy, space and water.

Are you planning to start designing a permaculture food forest? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Complete Guide to Food Forest Gardens and How They are Revolutionising the Way We Think of Farming

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