Forest gardening is a novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops grown in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Species are carefully chosen for their beneficial effects on each other, creating a healthy system that maintains its own fertility.
Creating a Forest Garden tells you everything you need to know, whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot. It includes advice on planning, design (using permaculture principles), planting and maintenance, and a detailed directory of over 500 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, annuals, root crops and climbers – almost all of them edible and many very unusual.
As well as more familiar plants you can grow your own chokeberries, goji berries, yams, heartnuts, bamboo shoots and buffalo currants – while creating a beautiful space that has great environmental benefits. In the light of our changing climate it is important that we find new ways of growing food sustainably, without compromising soil health, food quality or biodiversity. Forest gardening offers an exciting solution to the challenge.
Foreword by Rob Hopkins
Part 1: How forest gardens work
1. Forest gardens
2. Forest garden features and products
3. The effects of climate change
4. Natives and exotics
5. Emulating forest conditions
6. Fertility in forest gardens
Part 2: Designing your forest garden
7. Ground preparation and planting
8. Growing your own plants
9. First design steps
10. Designing wind protection
11. Canopy species
12. Designing the canopy layer
13. Shrub species
14. Designing the shrub layer
15. Herbaceous perennial and ground-cover species
16. Designing the perennial/ground-cover layer
17. Annuals, biennials and climbers
18. Designing with annuals, biennials and climbers
Part 3: Extra design elements and maintenance
21. Fungi in forest gardens
22. Harvesting and preserving
24. Ongoing tasks
Appendix 1: Propagation tables
Appendix 2: Trees and shrubs for hedging and fencing
Appendix 3: Plants to attract beneficial insects and bees
Appendix 4: Edible crops by month of use
Resources: Useful organisations, suppliers and publications
"This book is a magnificiently produced and massive tome that is sure to become every forest gardener's horticultural toolkit and bible."
"Marting has produced a book that is not only visually beautiful but very practical, offering advice on planning, designing, planting and general maintenance."
"If you are seriously considering the creation or maitenance of a forest garden then you would do well to have this book on your shelves. Even if you are only looking for novel ground cover suggestions in shaded areas or approaches to inter-planting trees, then this book offers bountiful food for thought."
"Creating a Forest Garden is a fascniating read for gardeners interested in how to plant communities that work."
"Martin Crawford has produced a spectacularly useful guide to new horticultural and ecological terrain of great importance."
"This semina piece of work is not only visually entralling, it's incredibly easy to use and it contains a level of detail and explanation that makes it, I believe, a must read for anyone who is serious about building a truly sustainable forest."
"Martin's book is visually stunning with beautiful photography and illustrations, accompanying very informative and well constructed text."
"This book is a must if you are interested in producing food from your garden, becoming more self-sufficient or just curious about plants and their uses."
“The ultimate book on the subject… extremely thorough and beautifully illustrated”
“Martin is a true pioneer and his work deserves respect and celebration.” - Permaculture Magazine
“Martin Crawford is a frontiersman, a pioneering teacher and an inspiration. Both his work and his garden are national treasures.” - Chris Nichols, Director of the Ashridge MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility.
Martin started his working life a computer programmer but his passion for organic gardening quickly led to a change in career. He has had broad and varied horticultural/agricultural experience over the last 25 years – he has worked for the Yarner Trust in North Devon, teaching small-scale organic agriculture; grown food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restored the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and run his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon.
His experience led him to the concept of forest gardening as a sustainable system that can flourish in our changing climate conditions, and it was this that led to the founding of the Agroforestry Research Trust in 1992, a non-profit-making charity that researches into temperate agroforestry and all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops. At his 2-acre forest garden in Dartington, Devon, planted 15 years ago, Martin systematically researches plant interactions and unusual crops. He also runs a commercial tree nursery specialising in unusual trees and shrubs, and has an 8-acre trial site, researching fruit and nut trees.
Martin teaches courses on Forest Gardening and Growing Nut Crops, writes books and edits a quarterly journal, Agroforestry News. His book Creating a Forest Garden – the forest gardening ‘bible’ – was published in 2010. His other books include Cherries: Production and Culture, Directory of Apple Cultivars, Directory of Pear Cultivars, Peaches and Apricots, Plums: Production, Culture and Cultivar Directory, Currants and Gooseberries, Blackberries and Raspberries, Chestnuts: Production and Culture, Hazelnuts: Production and Culture, Walnuts: Production and Culture, Bamboos, Ground Cover Plants, Nitrogen-fixing Plants for Temperate Climates, Timber Trees for Temperate Climates, Edible Plants for Temperate Climates,Useful Plants for Temperate Climates, Plants for Hedging, Plants for Basketry, Bee Plants and Dye Plants. His latest book, How to Grow Perennial Vegetables, was published in 2012.
He is a director of ‘Gaia’, a Trust formed by James Lovelock to further his work. He lives in Dartington with his wife and two children.
See www.agroforestry.co.uk for more information.