I’m part way through a new project – this time in the front yard.
I’m very intrigued by the idea of food forests a concept borrowed from the tropics. For me the term ‘food forest’ brings to mind the stories of Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson, both of which I read as a kid and now have fond memories of and both set in rain forests. I live in a rain forest too (temperate though), so why not try creating a food forest in my front yard?
I don’t know much about the complexities of food forests, I’ve only read about them. Unfortunately I’ve not visited a mature one. Last summer I took a cob workshop at a near by eco-village (OUR ECOvillage). As part of the day there we got a tour of the area. It was fascinating to see (I would love to live in a cob house), the sustainable system they are working to build is a great blueprint for what we all should be doing, and their garden was bursting with tasty looking vegetables. There was talk of a food forest but I didn’t see it. I even went back to the garden after our day was done, but I couldn’t find a food forest. All I found was a few fruit trees interplanted with herbs which probably will mature into a forest.
Armed with a complete lack of knowledge, I’ve started planting my own version of a food forest. We’ve started building a deer-proof fortification (necessary here) that encompasses the apple tree I planted a few years ago. I’ll attach netting to the poles when I’m finished sheet mulching the ground – I think easy access will be key when I mulch.
Within the enclosure I’ve already planted my medlar (the biggest tree) as the top layer, next layer down is the established dwarf apple and a sour cherry. For bushes, I planted the two blueberries and two honeyberries I had in pots. Finally, I have a yarrow to move into the enclosure. On our Christmas holidays I’ll sheet mulch the area with newspaper (I’ve been saving it for a while) topped with whatever organic matter I can find. In the spring, I’ll plant more and hopefully the ‘forest’ will become an attractive feature in my front yard.