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Creating A Forest Garden: Working With Nature T...



-I agree with the thrust of this article but would caution would be designers of food forests in Temperate climates to think long and hard about how they design such a forest. Here in Auckland New Zealand we have one demonstration food forest which through poor design has hardly produced a yield after ten years. Food forests are an amazing idea and I absolutely love working in them but as with all Permaculture the design must be site and climate specific.




Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature t...


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What is the starting point for creating a food forest? I think you should start with what does a person need to feed itself (with family) for a day, a week, the rest of his/her life to reach optimal health and go from there. From my point of view I think ideally it should provide 100% of the nutritional needs indefinitely. Is that possible? Are there live examples that were established fairly recently? Show me. If it is not possible why not? Personally I would like to find/connect to one or more examples in Latin America so that I can learn how it is done and learn how to develop my own. I must disclose that I am vegan.


Bill Mollison was right about how much you learn from observation. When working out how to build urban food forests, I incorporated the technique of Backyard Orchard Culture, which restricts the height of trees to how high you can reach with a pair of secateurs to prune the tops. I keep them a bit higher than that, but not much more.


I grew up on a Ranch and my grandfather believed in rotation, and in leaving as much of the natural wood (trees and plant growth) untouched as possible. He also allowed many of the native bushes along with fruit bearing bushes to grow between fields. It cut down on the crop area of the fields but his yields were always some to the best around. And we never suffered dramatically from insect infestations. The forests were left intact along the waterways and in key areas of the land. There were plenty of wildlife, deer, birds, and many others that some consider pests, but not my grandfather. He knew that nature has its own balancing system in place and he tried his best not to disrupt it very much.


I developed a five-step removal system based on my understanding of the principles and ethics of permaculture. Permaculture is a design science that helps us solve problems in the landscape by working with nature. You can read more about it in my article What is Permaculture? Designing a Resilient Garden.


While the focus in forest gardens is on choosing plant species and varieties from many different families, they depend on their interactions with a myriad of bacteria, fungi and animals in order to thrive. Soil bacteria, fungi and earthworms break down dead matter and make it available to plant roots. Insects, spiders and other invertebrates are vital pollinators and pest predators. Amphibians, birds and small mammals also concentrate and move nutrients. All of them contribute to the balance and stability of the whole garden. Together they form a local web of life that is intricately linked into the surrounding ecology up to the global level. Careful garden design and management can encourage them to thrive. Forest gardening is about creating a self-generating system that sustains and improves itself.


Public spaces and community gardens are not closed systems isolated from the world. If located in a public park, local residents and passers by will be affected by a forest garden and will interact with it in sometimes unpredictable ways. Involving these groups in designing, creating and maintaining the forest garden can generate sense of ownership that will help protect the space from threats such as vandalism, theft and development. Throughout the lifetime of the garden it is important to welcome and generate feedback from users of the area, and to respond with changes to the garden as a result of these interactions.


Each forest garden offers great learning opportunities to develop skills for working with plants as well as with people. These skills can be shared through work parties, workshops, training days and courses, reflecting different learning styles and levels of interest.


From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation. Most research so far has focused on green spaces such as parks and forests, and researchers are now also beginning to study the benefits of blue spaces, places with river and ocean views. But nature comes in all shapes and sizes, and psychological research is still fine-tuning our understanding of its potential benefits. In the process, scientists are charting a course for policymakers and the public to better tap into the healing powers of Mother Nature.


Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.[18]


Mulch is a protective cover placed over soil. Mulch material includes stones, leaves, cardboard, wood chips, and gravel, although in permaculture mulches of organic material are preferred because they perform more functions. These include absorbing rainfall, reducing evaporation, providing nutrients, increasing soil organic matter, creating habitat for soil organisms, suppressing weed growth and seed germination, moderating diurnal temperature swings, protecting against frost, and reducing erosion. Sheet mulching is a gardening technique that attempts to mimic natural forest processes. Sheet mulching mimics the leaf cover that is found on forest floors. When deployed properly and in combination with other permaculture principles, it can generate healthy, productive, and low-maintenance ecosystems.[70][71][page needed]


The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in the five senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aromatherapy of phytoncides. Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. Place your hands on the trunk of a tree. Dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lie on the ground. Drink in the flavor of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm. This is your sixth sense, a state of mind. Now you have connected with nature. You have crossed the bridge to happiness.


We are Krisztian and Julia, hungarian - polish couple in our thirties. We are obsessed with nature, gardening, alternative ways of living, arts, specially music ( creating and listening as well... all kinds, from electronic through piano music to bird singing ). We also love to travel, we spent a few years traveling around Europe before and after we met each other.The place is on a hill and it's totally melted together with the huge forests behind. Ideal for lovers of nature. The land is 1.5 hectares big, mostly forest, quite diverse one mixed with fruit and nut trees. A smaller part is a fruit orchard with old fruit trees and newly planted ones. This part we want to turn slowly into a forest garden. There are many kinds of fruit and nut trees like: apple, peach, plum, pear, cherry, mirabolan, apricot peach, chestnut, hazelnut, walnut etc. But the forest part needs more observation to identify more and more plants, specially the ground cover ones.There are also lots of animals, seeing squirrels running around on the branches of trees is a normal, almost everyday thing. The bird music goes on all day long and at night after the last songs of the birds the bats take over and fly around quietly. While walking to the back of the garden you can see messy clear spots without grass, hm a boar was digging here looking for food... The dear deer also visits the garden sometimes and if you go down to ground level to check out what's there, if you have luck you can spot spiders with crazy patterns and colors, and of course more crazy creatures :) We even met sometimes with boars and deers here but you need to be very quiet if you want to see them.The people around are also really nice, doing similar things. Trying to be self-sufficient as much as possible, or keeping goats, making cheese, some of them are also into arts. There is a couple in the village who also host volunteers, their garden is beautiful :)At a festival Krisztian did also a bit of land art stuff which he would like to continue but now in our garden!


Wishing for the degradation to stop does not make it so. Instead, concerted efforts by regions and small villages are the future answer to deforestation and its disharmony with nature and all life. It is this same model that has inspired my organisation, Reap Goodness, to transform a barren North American landscape.


Because nature is free, we often take it for granted and overexploit it. We clear forests, overfish oceans, pollute rivers and build over wetlands without taking account of the impact this will have. By not taking into account the benefits we get from nature, we create huge social and economic costs for ourselves.


In spite of the existing research base, still more evidence and systematic rigorous research is needed on the mental and physical health effects of forests. Little is known about the effect of forest type on the positive health benefits, and how forests should be managed to maximize the health benefits. More information is needed on the effect of social and cultural environment and personality on gaining the beneficial health effects. In addition, methodology development as well as rigorous analysis and reporting of those results that do not show positive connections between human health and forests are needed [6]. It has to be noted that not all people perceive natural environments as therapeutic; forests can also be perceived as threatening and alien places which may cause anxiety and uncertainty [31]; for example, childhood nature experiences may influence adulthood relationships with natural environments [31, 32]. 041b061a72


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