Forest gardens

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Green Aura
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Forest gardens

Post: #285205 Green Aura
Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:16 am

dnd's thread on perennial vegetables reminded me of our main aim in growing perennial veg, to grow a forest garden.

I don't know how many of you are interested in perennial veg, specifically as part of a forest garden. This has been my goal for a long while - although somehow it seems to keep getting shunted down the list. We are collecting the plants in readiness, however, so we can spring into action when the time is right.

Jacks and Toesmeier, who have written extensively on the subject, identify 5 different types of plants to grow in a forest garden, according to their purpose. There's - food (for us humans), fodder (for our livestock or other animals), nectar (for insects), medicinal (self-explanatory) and fuel.

dnd's covered the first area in her thread, I don't, at this point have any livestock, although I'm still working on my OH re chickens (and I may have noticed a slight shift in him :wink: ) and I'm well up on medicinal plants, although again suggestions are always welcome.

The areas where I've done least research are nectar-giving and fuel providing plants. So any and all ideas would be welcome. I'm sure a lot of the plants in the other sections will be insect feeding but it would be nice to give them a small area undisturbed by us.

We already have willow and I've heard Phormiums are being considered as a quick growing fuel plant - although I don't know how well they'd grow this far north. Certainly worth looking into further south though. Other trees are probably a no-go as our garden just isn't big enough and they grow so slowly here it's not worth it, but again ideas for folks down south would be useful. I'd be really interested in smaller plants or shrubs that might fit the bill.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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mamos
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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285208 mamos
Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:49 am

I think Hazel would be a perfect tree for a food forest. They are a good food crop plus if coppiced properly can provide building materials, poles for use in the garden and fuel.

paul
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Green Aura
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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285210 Green Aura
Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:13 pm

Yes, we've got several hazel bushes, but they're very slow growing and we haven't seen anything approaching nuts yet. They've been in the ground 7 years.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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diggernotdreamer
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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285211 diggernotdreamer
Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:19 pm

I think hazel is very slow growing too. One tree I have been considering is the Quaking poplar, it grows quite quickly I believe and I really like the sound of the wind through the leaves, so for me it is worth considering for those aesthetic qualities

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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285214 John Headstrong
Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:26 pm

I would recommend https://scottishforestgarden.wordpress.com/ have a good read. :study:

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Odsox
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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285216 Odsox
Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:32 pm

There are 2 unusual shrubs that I've discovered produce good fuel timber.
One is buddleia, but the best is Olearia macrodonta.
The Olearia is as tough as old boots, loves salt laden gales and grows multiple trunks of very dense timber quickly. I use it as a wind break around my orchard http://www.selfsufficientish.com/forum/ ... 22&t=29255 and can get loads of logs every 2 years or so now it's established.

Another fast growing tree is Alder, which I'm growing, but have yet to burn any.
Tony

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Green Aura
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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285218 Green Aura
Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:02 pm

The Olearia macrodonta looks rather pretty, I'll look further into that.

That site's brilliant John, I've raided it several times for info.

Full-size trees are out, I think the garden is just too short. They'd be too near the house.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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doofaloofa
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Re: Forest gardens

Post: #285225 doofaloofa
Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:47 pm

I've had great success with sweet chestnut, but mainly because we are on an ex gravel quarry, so have excellent drainage. so much depends on the site

i have 12 plum yews in pots ready to plant out in the woods when they are a bit bigger

Myrtle is one to consider as well as some of the Darwini
ina wrote: die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten Kartoffeln


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