[Santa_Cruz_Permaculture] Garden Like a Forest: Steps To Ecological Gardening with author David Jacke one of the most experience permaculture Forest Garden Designer Oct 7/8/9 Talk & Workshop LA

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Sat Jul 23 22:18:48 PDT 2011

GARDEN LIKE A FOREST  with author  Dave Jake one of the  the most 
experience permaculture Forest Garden Designer Oct 7/8/9 Talk & Workshop LA

Public Talk-  Gardening Like the Forest: Home-Scale Ecological Food 
Friday, Oct. 7th, 7-9 pm
$20 members / $25 non-members
Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden
301 N Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007

Healthy forests maintain, fertilize, and renew themselves, naturally. 
Wouldn't you like to grow an abundant food-producing ecosystem like this 
in your back yard? You can! Edible forest gardens mimic the structure 
and function of natural forests through all their stages of 
developmentwhile growing food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizers, 
farmaceuticals, and fun. We can meet our own needs and regenerate 
healthy ecosystems at the same time!
This talk introduces the vision of forest gardening, some scientific 
background, a few living examples, and a sampling of perennial edibles 
you can use in your own garden.  We'll also touch on ecological 
principles that lie at the core of forest garden design, and apply 
equally well to how we might design human social systems.

Workshop-  Gardening Like the Forest: Steps To Ecological Gardening
Saturday, October 8th, 8:30-5:00
Sunday, October 9th, 8:30-3:30
$195 includes Public Talk (10/7)
Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden
301 N Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007
  TO REGISTER: Call: (626) 821-4623 or Email: jill.berry at arboretum.org

  Dave Jacke, primary author of the award winning two-volume book Edible 
Forest Gardens, http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/ has studied ecology 
and design since the 1970s, and has run his own design firm---Dynamics 
Ecological Design---since 1984. An engaging and passionate teacher of 
ecological design and permaculture, Dave has designed, built, and 
planted landscapes, homes, farms, and communities in the many parts of 
the United States, as well as overseas. A co-founder of Land Trust at 
Gap Mountain in Jaffrey, NH, he homesteaded there for a number of years. 
Dave holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Simon's Rock College and 
a M.A. in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design.

About Forest Gardening

Let's explore the edible forest gardening idea in some detail. The 
forest gardening vision leads us to explore forest ecology. Forest 
ecology is the basis for effective design and practice. This synopsis 
not only explains the fundamentals of forest gardening, but its 
structure parallels the contents of the two-volume book Edible Forest 
Gardens by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier.


Picture yourself in a forest where almost everything around you is food. 
Mature and maturing fruit and nut trees form an open canopy. If you look 
carefully, you can see fruits swelling on many branches---pears, apples, 
persimmons, pecans, and chestnuts. Shrubs fill the gaps in the canopy. 
They bear raspberries, blueberries, currants, hazelnuts, and other 
lesser-known fruits, flowers, and nuts at different times of the year. 
Assorted native wildflowers, wild edibles, herbs, and perennial 
vegetables thickly cover the ground. You use many of these plants for 
food or medicine. Some attract beneficial insects, birds, and 
butterflies. Others act as soil builders, or simply help keep out weeds. 
Here and there vines climb on trees, shrubs, or arbors with fruit 
hanging through the foliage---hardy kiwis, grapes, and passionflower 
fruits. In sunnier glades large stands of Jerusalem artichokes grow 
together with groundnut vines. These plants support one another as they 
store energy in their roots for later harvest and winter storage. Their 
bright yellow and deep violet flowers enjoy the radiant warmth from the 
sky. This is an edible forest garden.

What is Edible Forest Gardening?
Edible forest gardening is the art and science of putting plants 
together in woodlandlike patterns that forge mutually beneficial 
relationships, creating a garden ecosystem that is more than the sum of 
its parts. You can grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, 
other useful plants, and animals in a way that mimics natural 
ecosystems. You can create a beautiful, diverse, high-yield garden. If 
designed with care and deep understanding of ecosystem function, you can 
also design a garden that is largely self-maintaining. In many of the 
world's temperate-climate regions, your garden would soon start 
reverting to forest if you were to stop managing it. We humans work hard 
to hold back succession---mowing, weeding, plowing, and spraying. If the 
successional process were the wind, we would be constantly motoring 
against it. Why not put up a sail and glide along with the land's 
natural tendency to grow trees? By mimicking the structure and function 
of forest ecosystems we can gain a number of benefits.

Why Grow an Edible Forest Garden?
While each forest gardener will have unique design goals, forest 
gardening in general has three primary practical intentions:
High yields of diverse products such as food, fuel, fiber, fodder, 
fertilizer, 'farmaceuticals' and fun;
A largely self-maintaining garden and;
A healthy ecosystem.
These three goals are mutually reinforcing. For example, diverse crops 
make it easier to design a healthy, self-maintaining ecosystem, and a 
healthy garden ecosystem should have reduced maintenance requirements. 
However, forest gardening also has higher aims.

As Masanobu Fukuoka once said, "The ultimate goal of farming is not the 
growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." 
How we garden reflects our worldview. The ultimate goal of forest 
gardening is not only the growing of crops, but the cultivation and 
perfection of new ways of seeing, of thinking, and of acting in the 
world. Forest gardening gives us a visceral experience of ecology in 
action, teaching us how the planet works and changing our 
self-perceptions. Forest gardening helps us take our rightful place as 
part of nature doing nature's work, rather than as separate entities 
intervening in and dominating the natural world.

Where Can You Grow an Edible Forest Garden?
Anyone with a patch of land can grow a forest garden. They've been 
created in small urban yards and large parks, on suburban lots, and in 
small plots of rural farms. The smallest we have seen was a 30 by 50 
foot (9 by 15 m) embankment behind an urban housing project, and smaller 
versions are definitely possible. The largest we have seen spanned 2 
acres in a rural research garden. Forest gardeners are doing their thing 
at 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of elevation in the Rocky Mountains, on the 
coastal plain of the mid-Atlantic, and in chilly New Hampshire and 
Vermont. Forest gardening has a long history in the tropics, where there 
is evidence of the practice extending over 1,500 years. While you can 
grow a forest garden in almost any climate, it is easiest if you do it 
in a regions where the native vegetation is forest, especially deciduous 

Edible forest gardening is not necessarily gardening in the forest, it 
is gardening like the forest. You don't need to have an existing 
woodland if you want to forest garden, though you can certainly work 
with one. 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. While you can forest garden if you have a 
shady site, it is best if your garden site has good sun if you want the 
highest yields of fruits, nuts, berries, and most other products. Edible 
forest gardening is about expanding the horizons of our food gardening 
across the full range of the successional sequence, from field to 
forest, and everything in between.


Edible forest gardens mimic the structure and function of forest 
ecosystems---this is how we create the high, diverse yields, 
self-maintenance, and healthy ecosystem we seek for our garden. It is 
therefore critical to understand forest ecology and its implications for 
design. Four aspects of forest ecology are key: community architecture, 
ecosystem social structure, the structures of the underground economy, 
and how the community changes through time, also known as succession. 
Brief discussions of each of these aspects and examples of their 
influence on garden design and management follow.

Contrary to the prevailing wisdom on forest gardening, vegetation layers 
are only one of the architectural features important in forest garden 
design. Soil horizon structure, vegetation patterning, vegetation 
density, and community diversity are also critical. All five of these 
elements of community architecture influence yields, plant health, pest 
and disease dynamics, maintenance requirements, and overall community 
character. For example, scientific research indicates that structural 
diversity in forest vegetation, what we call "lumpy texture," appears to 
increase bird and insect population diversity and to balance insect pest 
populations---independent of plant species diversity. Learning how and 
why plants pattern themselves in nature and about the effects of the 
diverse kinds of diversity on ecosystem function can add great richness 
to the tool box of the forest gardener.

Social Structure
The unique inherent needs, yields, physical characteristics, behaviors, 
and adaptive strategies of an organism govern its interactions with its 
neighbors and its nonliving environment. They also determine the roles 
each organism plays within its community. The food web is one key 
community structure that arises from each species' characteristics. 
Organisms also form various kinds of "guilds" that partition resources 
to minimize competition or create networks of mutual support.

When we design a forest garden, we select plants and animals that will 
create a food web and guild structure, whether we know it or not. It 
behooves us to design these structures consciously so we can maximize 
our chances of creating a healthy, self-maintaining, high-yield garden. 
For example, the vast majority of solar energy captured by natural 
forest food webs ends up going to rot. We can capture some of this 
energy for our own use by growing edible and medicinal mushrooms, most 
of which prefer shady conditions. We can design resource-partitioning 
guilds by including plants with different light tolerances in different 
vegetation layers, for instance, or mixing taprooted trees such as 
pecans and other hickories with shallow-rooted species such as apples or 
pears. We can build mutual-support guilds by ensuring that pollinators 
and insect predators have nectar sources throughout the growing season. 
Insights into the guild structure of ecosystems provides clear direction 
for design as well as research into many aspects of agroecology.

The Underground Economy
The workings of nature's "underground economy" are a mystery, but the 
dynamics of this ecosystem are fundamental to the workings of all 
terrestrial communities. What is the anatomy of self-renewing soil 
fertility? How do plant roots interact with each other and their 
environment? What roles do microbes and other soil organisms play in our 
forest gardens, and how should we interact with them?

Plants are critical components of the structure that creates 
self-renewing fertility in natural ecosystems. They plug the primary 
nutrient leaks from the soil and energize a networked system of plants, 
soil organic matter, soil organisms, and soil particles that gathers, 
concentrates, and cycles nutrients conservatively. Maintaining perennial 
plant cover greatly aids this process. In addition "dynamic accumulator" 
plants like comfrey (Symphytum officinale) selectively accumulate 
mineral nutrients to high levels in their leaf tissues, adding them to 
the topsoil each fall. As we enter the post-oil age, our understanding 
of the anatomy of self-renewing fertility will become more and more 
critical to our success in temperate climates.

Understanding the dynamics of woody and herbaceous plant roots is 
critical to learning how to design and manage forest gardens. In what 
patterns do plant roots grow, why, and when? While the majority of tree 
roots grow in the top two to three feet of soil, it turns out that fruit 
trees that can get even a small percentage of their roots deep into the 
soil profile produce more fruit more consistently, resist pests and 
diseases more effectively, and live longer than those that have only 
shallow root systems. Good pre-planting site preparation is therefore a 
highly worthwhile endeavor. Root system understanding provides a solid 
foundation for plant species selection and polyculture design.

Soil organisms perform numerous critical functions in forest and garden 
ecosystems, and we can easily disrupt these allies and their work with 
unthinking actions. Luckily, basic forest gardening principles like 
using mulch and leaving the soil undisturbed provide just the kind of 
benign neglect our tiny friends need. However, good soil preparation can 
make all the difference, as well. For example, compacted or poorly 
drained soils can severely hamper the development of healthy soil food 
webs, and hence healthy forest gardens. Understanding the soil food web 
also provides insight into how to manage for healthy mycorrhizal fungi 
populations and how to ensure that nitrogen-fixing plants actually do 
their soil-building work.

Ecosystems are dynamic, and ever-changing. Plant succession used to be 
thought of as the directional change of a community over time from 
"immature" stages toward a "mature" "climax" community typical of a 
given region and environment, such as a field changing to shrubland and 
then to, say, oak-hickory forest. However, new models of succession have 
arisen in recent years that articulate the complex reality of plant 
community change over time without so blatantly projecting human 
cultural constructs upon natural phenomena. Plant succession is 
nonlinear and occurs patch by patch within the ecosystem, and rarely do 
ecosystems ever attain a climax or equilibrium state. Disturbances of 
various kinds are a natural part of every successional 
process---windstorms, fires, insect attacks, and human intervention. 
Nonetheless, linear succession to a "horizon" is a valid model to use 
when designing forest garden successions, as are various other 
permutations that mimic garden crop rotations or represent an 
ever-changing dance responding to the forces, needs, and whims of the 

While the practical applications of these new successional theories are 
of necessity somewhat vague, we do know that the most productive stages 
of succession are those in the middle---such as shrublands, oldfield 
mosaics, and woodlands---not necessarily full-fledged forests. In 
addition, most of our developed tree crops are species adapted to such 
midsuccession environments. Our highest yielding forest gardens are 
therefore most likely to contain, not the dense tree canopies of late 
succession forests, but lush mixtures of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs 
all occupying the same space in patches of varying density and 
character. Succession theory also teaches us many different approaches 
to directing ecological succession in our gardens.


At its simplest, forest garden design involves choosing what plants to 
place in your garden in which locations, at which times. However, these 
seemingly simple acts must generate the forest-like structures and 
functions we seek, and they must also achieve your design goals. A 
forest garden design process, then, must be information intensive if it 
is to achieve even moderately complex objectives. Therefore, begin by 
articulating your goals and assessing your garden site. Then you can 
select and apply design patterns, ecological principles, and plants in 
such a way that you integrate your goals and the site into a coherent 
whole. The challenge is to array the available design elements to create 
a set of ecosystem dynamics that will in turn yield the desired 
conditions of high yields, maximal self-maintenance, and maximum 
ecological health as inherent by-products of the ecosystem. You can use 
design patterns drawn from natural ecosystem examples or invent your own 
patterns that solve specific problems your design faces to help you do 
this. Patterns also arise from the requirements of the goals themselves 
and from a deep understanding of the site's characteristics. The goals 
guide the site analysis and assessment, and the site assessment 
discovers the design.

We recommend designing on paper, at least initially, so you can make as 
many mistakes as possible there, and correct them before putting 
anything into the ground. On-site design techniques can also work well, 
especially for those who prefer to avoid the mapping process. Careful 
design of plant spacing is a critical piece of the puzzle, in any case. 
Planting too closely together is the most frequent mistake that forest 
gardeners around the world have made. We hope that a more robust and 
explicit design process will help us all avoid such common mistakes and 
make some newer mistakes that are more interesting so we can learn from 
the experience.


Good site preparation is a critical precursor to planting your forest 
garden. Your site analysis and assessment should help you understand 
your site's limitations so that you can decide whether or how to alter 
the site, or how to adapt to the conditions present. Soil compaction, 
for example, is exceedingly common in most urban, suburban, and even 
rural sites, and it can severely restrict root growth, water movement in 
the soil, and the health of soil organism communities. Double-digging, 
chisel plowing, radial trenching, and other techniques can help you deal 
with severe compaction, while the simple act of mulching the soil and 
planting deep-rooted perennials will eventually address slight 
compaction. Other common site preparation challenges include poor soil 
texture, shallow soil depth, road salt, and persistent weeds.

Proper stock selection, planting, and mulching techniques can also have 
major long-term effects on plant vigor and productivity. Many woody 
planting specimens have been transplanted multiple times, and these can 
have kinked, circling, or damaged roots that will result in plant stress 
and even an untimely death. Carefully examine your specimens before you 
buy to ensure a quality root system, or purchase bare root stock so you 
can see the whole root system before planting. In fine-textured soils, 
the edges of the planting hole often become smeared to a smooth, 
impenetrable surface as a natural part of the digging process. This can 
severely restrict root growth and cause water to pool in the planting 
hole. Breaking up the edges of the hole with a spading fork allows roots 
and water into the surrounding soil. This needs to become a common 
planting practice, as do proper planting depth, proper mulch depth, and 
effective sheet mulching techniques.

Once the garden is in the ground, the longest and most satisfying phase 
of forest gardening begins: management, harvest, and coevolution. 
Potentially the hardest part of this phase is learning to do less and 
let the system take care of itself, as well as knowing when to intervene 
and how. These questions are, however, part of the process of shifting 
from a paradigm of command and control to one of cocreative 
participation as part of a natural system. As we observe ourselves and 
our gardens through the dance of the seasons, we will learn the most 
effective ways of guiding the garden ecosystem's evolution, we will 
select and breed ever more delectable crops for all the niches of the 
garden ecosystem, and we will begin to realize the full potential of 
forest gardening as a tool for cultural and personal evolution, not to 
mention cultural and personal survival in a post oil world. Welcome to 
the adventure!

Good information on plant, animal, and mushroom species and their 
ecological characteristics is essential for good forest garden design. 
You'll need data on the plant's size, form, and habit, its rooting 
patterns, hardiness and other tolerances and preferences, as well as its 
native habitat, human uses and ecological functions. Information that 
helps you design habitat for beneficial wildlife such as insects, frogs, 
toads, salamanders, and birds is also crucial. Ideally, this information 
will come in a variety of formats and levels of detail that relate to 
different parts of the design process. The appendices of Edible Forest 
Gardens provides this kind of information on over 600 useful plant 
species and a plethora of beneficial wildlife for your designing and 
gardening pleasure.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.permaculture-guilds.org/pipermail/santa-cruz-permaculture/attachments/20110723/b66b988d/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: image/gif
Size: 23646 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.permaculture-guilds.org/pipermail/santa-cruz-permaculture/attachments/20110723/b66b988d/attachment.gif>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: edible-forest-gardens-2-vol-set.gif
Type: image/gif
Size: 23646 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.permaculture-guilds.org/pipermail/santa-cruz-permaculture/attachments/20110723/b66b988d/attachment-0001.gif>

More information about the Santa-Cruz-Permaculture mailing list