| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:40 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:12 am 
Offline
The Real Hamburger Helper
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:43 pm
Posts: 2254
Location: Wet and Windy Wiltshire
So, I brought up the idea of forest gardening at work in a "what shall we do next?" meeting… and both of my superiors loved it. As in, gave me the go-ahead. It won't even begin happen for at least three or four years for budgeting reasons, but basically they told my that a brilliant way to use a piece of land that was a failed experiment previously (was going to be an arboretum, but most of the trees died immediately because of poor planning) and is currently a nice meadow with a few trees in*. But, nice meadows don't make money, and forest gardening might, even if it's only as a tourist attraction (and as I work in a stately home that has been a museum for 200 years, that would work very well).

So… does anyone have any experience of forest gardening? Or even business links (in Europe, particularly the UK). I'd like it to be almost entirely edible and productive, partly from a "because it's cool" point of view, and partly because we can then set up a microbrewery or jam factory or whatever (they used to make cider there).

*which is fine and all, but when you're surrounded by open fields and countryside, a nice meadow doesn't quite have the same impact.

_________________
dropscone - "Ack, I'm no help, I just like to imagine as many people as possible eating roast potatoes."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:56 am 
Offline
ol' garly cooch
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
As much as I hate ME News, I found this to be helpful. It is an older article:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic- ... lture.aspx

_________________
I'm not dead, just sick.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:25 am 
Offline
Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:10 pm
Posts: 2448
Location: Midlands, UK
Also, have you seen the Plants for a Future site? They've been going for a long time and have info on plants/trees that thrive in the UK. I have the book of the same title by Ken Fern (or used to, I may have lent it to someone) and it was really informative.

_________________
"The lack of obstacles between me and cake is one of the best things about being a grownup for sure." - coldandsleepy

"and by "load of facts" you mean a bag of flaming poop, right?" - supercarrot


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:07 pm 
Offline
Bought A BRAND NEW CAR!
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:47 pm
Posts: 2152
Location: Western North Carolina
I liked that permaculture garden article as well in some respects...but I'd be careful and make sure some of the plants aren't invasive. Being in the UK it would be totally different for what's invasive and what's not, but if you are going to plant something non-native make sure its tried and true as non-invasive!

That being said...it would be cool to create a UK specific version of something like the Maya forest garden (or Milpa). http://www.mayaforestgardeners.org/forestgardening.php

_________________
Evolved a vascular system, so I went from bryophyte to lycophyte.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:30 am 
Offline
The Real Hamburger Helper
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:43 pm
Posts: 2254
Location: Wet and Windy Wiltshire
lycophyte wrote:
I liked that permaculture garden article as well in some respects...but I'd be careful and make sure some of the plants aren't invasive. Being in the UK it would be totally different for what's invasive and what's not, but if you are going to plant something non-native make sure its tried and true as non-invasive!

The UK has been invaded by so many plants for years that it is a little bit irrelevant. According to my book on forest gardening, there is not enough variety in the UK any more (small island, large population), so bringing in neighbours' plants is a necessity.

Obviously, I'm not going to go out and plant a Japanese knotweed forest, though. In the garden at the moment we have an Oriental plane and a great redwood already, and a load of monkey puzzles, though. Goji berries apparently grow in the UK quite well, and did you know there's a tea plantation in Cornwall? (I've had some of their tea, it's not very nice and very expensive).

I would like to go for native or once-native species, though. This is definitely a long-term thing, though. It would be nice to grow some heirloom varieties in the greenhouses, too.

Thanks everyone!

_________________
dropscone - "Ack, I'm no help, I just like to imagine as many people as possible eating roast potatoes."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:16 pm 
Offline
Plays The Sims 2 religiously
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:20 pm
Posts: 7285
Location: Portland, OR
Can juniper grow in the UK? Because that fills the bill for forest but also useful for something else. Gin!

Anyhow, it sounds fun. I think some evergreens are a must, and also it would be cool to put around very large dead trunks on their side and you could facilitate some decomposing, and then grow other plants in there. I lived beside a very old forest which had these naturally occurring when I was a kid and it would fascinate me. And I know you can speed up the process and force it because there's this, sort of 'statue' erected here in Portland in the middle of all concrete that is one of these.

_________________
i would schmear marmite on a moist scrotum for Mars. - interrobang?!
"Not everything." ~ mumbles (1973-2013) - mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:17 pm 
Offline
Plays The Sims 2 religiously
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:20 pm
Posts: 7285
Location: Portland, OR
Also if you wanted to make some money with it you could go around in the winter and take sprigs from the trees and then make wreaths for the holidays.

_________________
i would schmear marmite on a moist scrotum for Mars. - interrobang?!
"Not everything." ~ mumbles (1973-2013) - mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:06 pm 
Offline
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:32 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Shelbyville, Kentucky
I am working on converting the lightly wooded edge of my yard into a forest garden, but it is still in the very early stages. Being in the UK, I think you would get a lot out of Martin Crawford's book.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:54 pm 
Offline
The Real Hamburger Helper
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:43 pm
Posts: 2254
Location: Wet and Windy Wiltshire
Oh, I have that book! It's very good. Between that and John Seymour's Self-Sufficiency book, I think I have it covered in theory. Doing it in practice is another game entirely.

_________________
dropscone - "Ack, I'm no help, I just like to imagine as many people as possible eating roast potatoes."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:12 am 
Offline
ol' garly cooch
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
What about the wildlife? Do the deer/squirrels/raccoons/possums get it?

_________________
I'm not dead, just sick.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:11 am 
Offline
The Real Hamburger Helper
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:43 pm
Posts: 2254
Location: Wet and Windy Wiltshire
We don't have raccoons or possums on this continent, as far as I'm aware. There are deer that frolic about, and I'm going to have to section part of it off as deer-proof. There is plenty of woodland nearby for them to frolic off to, anyway. I'm not actually going to be removing anything than grass, really; it's currently a large field with two dozen trees in, surrounded by more trees on all sides.

In the UK, anyone who catches a grey squirrel is legally obliged to kill it, as they are not a native species and have pushed the native red squirrels into near-extinction. I'm not saying I'll go around clubbing them over the head with tiny bricks, though. Anyway, there are loads of trees for them all around.

_________________
dropscone - "Ack, I'm no help, I just like to imagine as many people as possible eating roast potatoes."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:22 am 
Offline
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:32 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Shelbyville, Kentucky
Well, from a practical standpoint, there are a few different options. For those with lots of money and labor available, you can do an all-at-once conversion. However, few people have that luxury. Most people would probably be better off with a kind of gradual approach. Since trees failed there in that past, I think you would be best choosing some early pioneer species and dotting them about the field, then slowly filling in with later successional species and more shade tolerant shrubs and understory plants.
Have you had the soil tested there? If trees failed in the past there could be problems with the soil, though I see you say it was due to poor planning.
While I agree with you in general on the natives versus exotics issue, natives will likely be better adapted to your local conditions, so I would recommend starting with those if at all possible.

My approach has been to remove non-natives (like Ailanthus) and weedy shrubs and vines while replacing them with native shrubs and trees. So far I have had success with elderberry, pawpaw, redbud, and wild plums. Keeping the rabbits and deer off has been a bit of a challenge. I also have to contend with black walnut, though elders and pawpaws seem fairly tolerant of it. Maybe start by picking a plant guild that would work in your climate and adding the pieces of it slowly? Perhaps apples as a start since the area was a cider mill?

A more detailed source you might like, though it is very expensive, is this two volume set. I skipped over the first volume because I felt fairly confident in the theory part having a degree in forestry/natural resources. Anyways, the second volume takes you through site assessment and planning the planting in a fairly detailed manner. You might check and see if you could get it through interlibrary loan.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:03 am 
Offline
The Real Hamburger Helper
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:43 pm
Posts: 2254
Location: Wet and Windy Wiltshire
I've done some very approximate measuring (with Google Maps), and the area is about 400m at its longest point of useful space by about 150m. So, I think I'm going to do a 50m strip first and see what happens.

PFAF have a database of "useful" plants that grow in the UK. We're in the South West, so we're at the warmer end of the climate. Nor quite Cornwall-warm (there's a tea plantation in Cornwall! We tried some. It tastes like tea.) but still fine.

Regarding the use of natives, Crawford's book recommends planting non-natives from Eurasia and North America. That would actually be quite in keeping with the rest of the gardens, actually, as we have a giant redwood and an oriental plane, among others. It was very fashionable to plant trees from far-off lands once upon a time, and that's what they did.

How do you find out what guild grows well in an area? I mean, other than getting your eyes and having a look and then writing things down and working it out. Actually, the trees might be a big clue as it's fairly well documented which trees like growing where.

Apparently the topsoil is not very deep before it hits clay, which may be a challenge. It was originally 3 commercially farmed fields, (in the 80s) so things can grow there. I think this means that we'll have to compost the hell out of it for a little while. Then again, nothing more demanding than grass and fungi have been growing there for two decades (the deer and the gardeners take care of that). Underneath the clay is a reservoir that feeds the lake.

_________________
dropscone - "Ack, I'm no help, I just like to imagine as many people as possible eating roast potatoes."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Forest Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:07 pm 
Offline
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:32 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Shelbyville, Kentucky
Not exactly sure what to tell you on figuring out what guilds will grow best in your area. My guess would be to start with the trees and work from there as the understory plants can probably be switched out fairly easily.

Here is a link on an apple tree centered guild from Gaia's Garden (another great book!). It is not a terribly complex guild as it is made of a tree and multiple herbs, but it could be a good start. Perhaps you could build upon it by placing shrubs between the trees like Mollison suggests here..?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer