Presentation on theme: "Edible Forest Gardening: Embodying wisdom, knowledge, and practice of the ‘eco’"— Presentation transcript:
Edible Forest Gardening: Embodying wisdom, knowledge, and practice of the ‘eco’
What is an edible forest garden? “An edible forest garden is a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants” (Jacke 2005) “Forest gardens are long-term biologically sustainable systems for growing food and other products for a household or commercially.” (Crawford 2006)
‘Unlawning what we have lawned’ lawns in the US were estimated to cover 128, 000 square kilometres (about the size of England) making it the most extensive irrigated crop in the country (about three times that of corn).  50-70% of residential water is used to water lawns.  The collective maintenance budget of this ‘crop’ was in the range of 29 billion dollars in 2002, or roughly 1,200 dollars/using household.  Lindsey, Rebecca, ‘Looking for Lawns’ http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/Lawn/lawn2.html  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn
Small trees & large shrubs Shrubs Climbers & vines Herbaceous perennials Ground covers & creepers Canopy trees Crawford (2006)
Key patterns of a forest garden: High Diversity of perennials Multi-layered Nitrogen fixers Leaf mulch Mineral Accumulators No Till Ground covers Bee plants and predatory insect attractants
Key qualities of a forest garden: Self Maintaining High yield (“Over-yielding”)
Figure 2-2 (Crawford, 2006)
In Indonesia 7% of labor inputs can account for 44% of the carbohydrate and 32% of the protein needs of the diet. In Hawaii a small home garden can provide 100% of the necessary vitamin A and C and 18% of the protein for a family of five.  Cooper, P.J.M., Leakey, R.R.B., Rao, M.R. and Reynolds, L ‘Agroforestry and the mitigation of land degredation in the humid and sub humid tropics of Africa.’ Experimental Agriculture 32: 
Key qualities of a forest garden: Self Maintaining High yield (“Over-yielding”) Self fertilizing Zero external inputs necessary Nitrogen fixers Mineral Accumulators
Forest Gardening puts the emphasis on the whole as an interrelating ‘organism’ not as a collection of objects or individuals.
Keeping the elements present throughout the design process Air Water Fire Earth
Air What are the wind patterns here? What windbreaks already exist? What areas are more protected? What species make good wind breaks?
Nitrogen fixation Heavy cropping fruits (chestnuts, plums, blackberries, apples, apricots, hazels, medlars, mulberries, peaches, pears), bamboos, and heavily cropped perennials will require extra nitrogen – g/m2 of N per year. (Crawford 2006)
Potassium Most soils contain plentiful potassium, but almost all is insoluble and only made available by weathering processes. Heavily fruiting trees and shrubs will require extra potassium in the order of 7-14 g/m2/year of K (or 8-17 g/m2/year of K2O). (Crawford, 2006)
Urine- Nation One pee has about as much nitrogen in it (5.6g) as a kilo of manure, a kilo of compost, or three comfrey plants cut 4-5 times/year One pee has 7g Potassium. More than a kilo of manure (4.2g) or a kilo of compost (6.7g) Phosphorous- about a third as much
Potential of the forest garden process Grow an abundant diversity of tasty, nutritious food and other useful products Create a stable, resilient garden ecosystem, driven by solar energy, that largely maintains and renews itself. Protect and restore ecosystem health Embody beauty, elegance, and spirit in the landscape Improve economic sustainability Cultivate a new paradigm for human participation in the ecology of cultural and natural landscapes Jacke and Toensmier 2005
Inference: Forest gardening while engaging people in the growth process of their home, and providing healthy food, also can have a marked positive effect on non-human populations
Mineral and nitrogen accumulators Complementary ‘bee plants’ Nectar sources Deep and lush field layer to improve soil friability, promote fungal relationships, and provide a broad array of habitats for increased diversity. A few basic techniques
“Cultivate a new paradigm for human participation in the ecology of cultural and natural landscapes” Taking this last one a bit further, I would pose that in engaging in forest gardening as an inherently participative approach to our relationships with land, food, wildlife, that we are (or we have the potential to) eliminate the need for such distinctions as ‘cultural and natural landscapes’.
Key qualities of a forest garden: Self Maintaining High yield (“Over-yielding”) Self fertilizing Beneficial to the other- than- human?
Biodiversity in forest gardening
Observed effects on biodiversity: Statistically valid difference in species composition between two sites Forest garden had higher diversity of taxa, as well as higher indexed diversity.
Forest Gardening reminds us in subtle ways that we are not separate, we can be beneficial participants in our environments.
“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings” Masanobu Fukuoka, The One Straw Revolution
High diverse yields Self maintenance/ minimum cost Directed succession Ecological health Minimal competition Minimal herbivory Sustainable water demand Existing site conditions Desired ecosystem component s Ecosystem patterning Management activities Healthy plants Overyielding polycultures Self renewing fertility Reflection/Design Action/Implementation Figure 2-3
Canopy density and design Find out the size & shape of the trees you want (width x height) Just 1-2 hours sun per day in summer can double the energy they get Never plant canopy trees closer than their maximum potential width allows A gap between trees (at maximum width) of ¼-½ of the tree canopy width, to give a broken canopy, will allow significant light through to lower layer In general, put largest canopy trees at North end/side of site, smallest ones at South end/side Incorporate any aesthetic objectives Aim to raise canopy in time by pruning lower branches