When designing a new system, be it a garden or a whole community, permaculture looks to natural ecosystems for inspiration. Since in our cool climate, a piece of ground left alone will eventually evolve into a forest, it is wise to try and grow our food in the same way. An edible forest consists of several layers: fruittrees are usually underplanted with soft fruit bushes, herbs and perennial vegetables.
You don’t need a huge piece of land to plant a forest garden, just keep the principles in mind. Our backyard is about 25m long but less than 5 m wide, and yet there is enough space for hundreds of edibles. We have an apple tree and a plum, goosberries and josta and many perennial vegetables and herbs.
Against all walls and fences we planted fruiting climbers and cane fruit: raspberries red &black, kiwis, hybrid berries. In the spring we pick lots of leaves and edible flowers for salads, in summer and autumn there’s plenty of fruit to pick. And every day we use herbs for tea and cooking from the garden.
If you’d like to read more about our gardens here are a few posts:
Seeds old and new
Edible garden in October
Edible garden in September
Edible garden in August
Edible flowers, how to grow them and how to eat them
Edible garden in July
Edible garden in June
Edible garden in May
Edible garden in April
Kale salad and community gardening
Deciding what to grow
Edible garden in January