When designing a new system, permaculture looks to natural ecosystems for inspiration. Since in our cool climate, a piece of ground left alone will eventually evolve to 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. 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.