The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Planning a forest garden, part I

The young orchard which we'll be turning into a forest garden.For this week's lunchtime series, I thought you all might enjoy seeing the initial planning stages for our new forest garden.  This photo shows the area we'll be working with --- the worst part of our garden, full of weeds and waterlogged clay soil.  The book recommends first articulating our broad goals and the specific factors we hope to use to achieve those goals, speaking in the present tense from five or ten years in the future when our goals have been met:

My barnside permaculture is primarily an orchard of fruit trees with a shrub and herb layer which rounds out the ecosystem and promotes the growth of the trees.  It is also a tranquil nook which tempts me to relax and enjoy the outdoors in summer and winter.  As the herbs and shrubs expand, I use their propagules to spread permaculture ideas into other garden areas, experimenting as I go.


The specifics:

  1. Fruit trees fill the canopy and are the main source of long term maintenance work.
    • 3 apples, 1 nectarine, 1 plum
    • trellised grapes
  2. Although initial construction work is intense, long term ground level maintenance is minimized (ie. little or no mowing!)
    • Perennial herbs and shrubs are chosen first for fertility, nectary, and groundcover purposes to improve the poor soil, attract beneficial wildlife, and outcompete invasives.  Most species are freely available from my garden or nearby woods.
    • Wet areas are ditched to create wetlands with dry areas in between.
  3. Deer are barred from entry.
    • Fence, chicken moat, or thicket/hedge?
  4. Restful nook with winter sun and summer shade, near water.
  5. Outdoor picnic/work area near trailer with lawn or other high traffic, soft groundcover.



This post is part of our Planning The Forest Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:




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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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What is a chicken moat?
Comment by Sheila Mon Mar 2 19:13:48 2009
All shall be explained on Friday.... Stay tuned. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Mar 3 08:53:24 2009





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