From the first day I read about edible forest gardens, back in 2005, I have wanted to plant one. As our garden is on the small side I have used the principles of forest gardening and adapt them to my situation. The garden is quite shady from existing trees and buildings and with limited space I have focussed in particular on growing perennial vegetables.
Undoubtedly the marvellous “Plants for a Future” database which provides a massive amount of information on edible and otherwise useful plants has made this a much easier task than it otherwise might have been. I have relied heavily on the information available there to guide my searches for nice tasting, easy to grow perennial vegetables. After a few years of trial and error I had by the end of last summer amassed a pleasing assortment of perennial vegetables closely packed into the space available!
Initially the planting was rather more random than intended with plants being slotted in as I was able to source them and I was planning a bit of an overhaul and sort out for this year anyway. The damage wrought by last month’s ultra freezing weather has reinforced this by creating some empty space to start afresh for the coming season. However as with any form of gardening I continue to have plans that outstrip the space available. I hope to be able to increase the size of the plot available for perennial vegetables by relocating a few ornamental shrubs and by extending one or more of the existing beds.
I am also crossing my fingers for a pleasant, warm summer with enough rain but without deluges. Let’s hope I am not disappointed, we are surely due a good summer.
Principle: Forest gardening is based upon the structure, composition and functioning of a natural woodland including the resultant ecosystem and its emergent properties. In a forest garden biodiversity means health; a living soil and increasing biomass mean increasing fertility, and together health and fertility mean abundance.