Thinking about food forest design

Okay, I’m fairly certain that I’ve become obsessed with this. I suppose I should not be surprised… what kind of geek asks for pear trees for his thirteenth birthday? This kind of geek. Anyway, I’ve been observing, thinking, and reading alot. I really need to get my hands on Jacke and Toensmeier’s books. At the moment I’ve been taking inventory and transplanting a variety of things which we have on site. I’ve mostly focused on the area around my cabin, planting yarrow, self-heal, oregano, chives, comfrey and coneflowers at various places around the juneberries and pawpaws. My thoughts are to have a nice mix of food, accumulators, and medicinals in there. Still to propagate and plant (probably next year) would be bee balm, lemon balm, golden seal, good king henry, strawberry, thyme and sage are just a few on the list.

We’ve got gobs and gobs of Yarrow, self-heal and lots of other medicinals and nutrient accumulators growing around here. I try to mow as little as possible which allows a nice mix to grow up in the field/orchard south of the garden. I spend a good deal of time walking around with my Peterson field guide to medicinal plants and herbs taking inventory. One recent discovery, Small-Flowered Agrimony, seems like a candidate for harvesting and transplanting. If not I at least know I have it and have added it to the database.

I continue to be amazed at the useful food and medicinal plants growing all around me. Another is Lady’s Thumb or Heart’s ease which grows 10 feet outside my front door in and amongst all the other “weeds”. What a ridiculous word. Sad that so many useful plants get labeled a weed because we fail to take the time to learn their names and uses and role in the ecosystem.

The new swale has been mulched on the sides and the berm planted with comfrey and a mix of greens and radishes. Soon I’ll be putting a big patch of rhubarb in it thanks to a gift from my uncle Joe and aunt Sue.

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1 thought on “Thinking about food forest design

  1. Anonymous

    I encourage you to not lose your obsession. A friend is getting the Jacke and Toensmeier books today, and I am getting the original Mollison Permaculture Handbook this week.

    Toby Hemenway spoke near our location (central NC) a few weeks ago. His approach to food forest design is sensible and well thought-out. Other key people are Darren Doherty (key line design, etc.) and Geoff Lawton (youtube them if you don't know of them.)


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