Your DIY food forest

Create your own food forest. That seems like a big idea. How do I begin? Start with research. Many fine resources exist online: Back Yard Fruit Gardener. Grow Organic Apples: Holistic Orchard Network. Michael Phillips Edible Landscaping with Charlie Nardozzi Artichokes and Zinnias Food Forest Blog by Emily Tepe. Lee Reich Brett McLeod Toby Hemenway Green Books. Environmental Publishing for Over 21 Years. Frank Tozer. Edible Forest Gardens of The Origin and Design of Home Scale Food Forest Gardens. Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. Rosalind Creary. The Permaculture Apprentice Following are books we recommend: Growing Organic Orchard Fruits by Danny L. Barney The Harrowsmith Book of Fruit Trees by Jennifer Bennett Edible Landscaping: Now You Can Have Your Garden and Eat It Too by Rosalind Creary The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food by Tanya L.K. Denckla Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture, Volumes One and Two, by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. The Woodland Homestead by Brett McLeod Foodscaping by Charlie Nardozzi The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips The Edible Landscape by Emily Tepe The New Food Garden by Frank Tozer Grow Fruit Naturally by Lee Reich Landscaping With Fruit: Strawberry ground covers, blueberry hedges, grape arbors, and 39 other luscious fruits to make your yard an edible paradise. (A Homeowners Guide) by Lee Reich Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin by Lyn M. Steiner Integrated Forest Gardening: The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems Do you have a food forest nearby? Go check it out and consider volunteering there. Consider hiring a professional permaculture landscape designer. The investment could save you time and money. What are the essential steps for creating your own food forest? 1. After you've done your research, go take a walk in a forest! Observe how all the species interact with one another and how a forest creates its own mulch and doesn't require watering. Notice the layers in the plant community, from the little guys on the forest floor to the tallest trees and how they interact with one another. What gets the most light? What doesn't need any light? A walk in the woods is an excellent way to get inspiration for your own food forest. Forest Gardens mimic natural systems with species that provide humans with food and nature with habitat. The placement and synergy between the plants produce very favorable and critical characteristics that ensure their success and sustainability. “Forest gardeners use the forest as a design metaphor, a model of structure and function, while adapting the design to focus on meeting human needs in a small space.” (Jacke and Toensmeier, 2005a, p. 2). The Seven Layers of a Food Forest Garden Robert Hart (1996) identified by seven food forest garden characteristics: • Self-perpetuating • Self-fertilizing • Self-watering • Self-mulching • Self-pollinating • Self-healing and • Resistance to pests and diseases 2. Make a simple map and assess your site. Is it a backyard or side yard? Is it big enough for what you have in mind? Where does the light fall, and what areas are shadiest? How does the water flow across your site? Have your soil tested. All these elements will be useful when you're deciding what to plant. This is where professional assistance can go a long way. 3. Design a layout and select your plants. All the elements in your design should work together as a system, just as they do in the forest. Forests live in layers: tall trees, short trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground cover. Although you don't have to have all these elements in your design, keep these layers in mind. Plan for the final product: don't plant a baby apple tree in a space too small for one that's full grown. Over-plant (you can always share if you have too many survivors). Plant a variety of edibles, but also consider flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, legumes to fix nitrogen into the soil, plants with taproots to break up compacted earth. Think in terms of "guilds," [We could have a link here to numerous examples of guilds.] plant communities that work together for their mutual success. 4. Prepare your site. To make it easy, use a no-till site-preparation method like sheet mulching. Remember to call 811 (Wisconsin's Utility Notification Center) before you dig to make sure you're not planting on top of utilities. 5. Find your plants. Go through a local nursery instead of a big box store. The staff will be more knowledgeable, and you'll likely find a better, healthier selection. Try to find plants that haven't been treated with neonicotinoids, which are thought to be behind the bee die-off. If you're not sure, ask! You may choose to order your plants online, but be certain that you have done your research first. Emily recommends these resources: 6. Plant your plants! Use compost, then cover the soil around them with a good layer of mulch. 7. Figure out a maintenance schedule based on your plants' needs. This is especially important when your food forest is getting established. Eventually, if you've designed well, you'll need to water less as the food forest adjusts to the climate. The same holds for fertilizer. Compost should do at first, but eventually, if you've designed well, the plants will increase soil fertility on their own, and the leaves from your trees will provide a source for mulch. Be patient, especially with your trees! Most fruit and nut trees take years to produce, but once they start fruiting, you'll be able to enjoy the 'fruits' of your labors.
Forest Food forest

Wisconsin Food Forests

Contact Rodney Volkmar rodney@wisconsinfoodforests.com

Your DIY food forest

Create your own food forest. That seems like a big idea. How do I begin? Start with research. Many fine resources exist online: Back Yard Fruit Gardener. Grow Organic Apples: Holistic Orchard Network. Michael Phillips Edible Landscaping with Charlie Nardozzi Artichokes and Zinnias Food Forest Blog by Emily Tepe. Lee Reich Brett McLeod Toby Hemenway Green Books. Environmental Publishing for Over 21 Years. Frank Tozer. Edible Forest Gardens of The Origin and Design of Home Scale Food Forest Gardens. Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. Rosalind Creary. The Permaculture Apprentice Following are books we recommend: Growing Organic Orchard Fruits by Danny L. Barney The Harrowsmith Book of Fruit Trees by Jennifer Bennett Edible Landscaping: Now You Can Have Your Garden and Eat It Too by Rosalind Creary The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food by Tanya L.K. Denckla Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture, Volumes One and Two, by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. The Woodland Homestead by Brett McLeod Foodscaping by Charlie Nardozzi The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips The Edible Landscape by Emily Tepe The New Food Garden by Frank Tozer Grow Fruit Naturally by Lee Reich Landscaping With Fruit: Strawberry ground covers, blueberry hedges, grape arbors, and 39 other luscious fruits to make your yard an edible paradise. (A Homeowners Guide) by Lee Reich Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin by Lyn M. Steiner Integrated Forest Gardening: The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems Do you have a food forest nearby? Go check it out and consider volunteering there. Consider hiring a professional permaculture landscape designer. The investment could save you time and money. What are the essential steps for creating your own food forest? 1. After you've done your research, go take a walk in a forest! Observe how all the species interact with one another and how a forest creates its own mulch and doesn't require watering. Notice the layers in the plant community, from the little guys on the forest floor to the tallest trees and how they interact with one another. What gets the most light? What doesn't need any light? A walk in the woods is an excellent way to get inspiration for your own food forest. Forest Gardens mimic natural systems with species that provide humans with food and nature with habitat. The placement and synergy between the plants produce very favorable and critical characteristics that ensure their success and sustainability. “Forest gardeners use the forest as a design metaphor, a model of structure and function, while adapting the design to focus on meeting human needs in a small space.” (Jacke and Toensmeier, 2005a, p. 2). The Seven Layers of a Food Forest Garden Robert Hart (1996) identified by seven food forest garden characteristics: • Self-perpetuating • Self-fertilizing • Self-watering • Self-mulching • Self-pollinating • Self-healing and • Resistance to pests and diseases 2. Make a simple map and assess your site. Is it a backyard or side yard? Is it big enough for what you have in mind? Where does the light fall, and what areas are shadiest? How does the water flow across your site? Have your soil tested. All these elements will be useful when you're deciding what to plant. This is where professional assistance can go a long way. 3. Design a layout and select your plants. All the elements in your design should work together as a system, just as they do in the forest. Forests live in layers: tall trees, short trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground cover. Although you don't have to have all these elements in your design, keep these layers in mind. Plan for the final product: don't plant a baby apple tree in a space too small for one that's full grown. Over-plant (you can always share if you have too many survivors). Plant a variety of edibles, but also consider flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, legumes to fix nitrogen into the soil, plants with taproots to break up compacted earth. Think in terms of "guilds," [We could have a link here to numerous examples of guilds.] plant communities that work together for their mutual success. 4. Prepare your site. To make it easy, use a no-till site-preparation method like sheet mulching. Remember to call 811 (Wisconsin's Utility Notification Center) before you dig to make sure you're not planting on top of utilities. 5. Find your plants. Go through a local nursery instead of a big box store. The staff will be more knowledgeable, and you'll likely find a better, healthier selection. Try to find plants that haven't been treated with neonicotinoids, which are thought to be behind the bee die-off. If you're not sure, ask! You may choose to order your plants online, but be certain that you have done your research first. Emily recommends these resources: 6. Plant your plants! Use compost, then cover the soil around them with a good layer of mulch. 7. Figure out a maintenance schedule based on your plants' needs. This is especially important when your food forest is getting established. Eventually, if you've designed well, you'll need to water less as the food forest adjusts to the climate. The same holds for fertilizer. Compost should do at first, but eventually, if you've designed well, the plants will increase soil fertility on their own, and the leaves from your trees will provide a source for mulch. Be patient, especially with your trees! Most fruit and nut trees take years to produce, but once they start fruiting, you'll be able to enjoy the 'fruits' of your labors.
Contact Rodney Volkmar rodney@wisconsinfoodforests.com

Wisconsin Food Forests

Forest Food forest