Starting to Build a Food Forest, Where Did We Start? (Year 1 & 2)

There are 7 Layers of a Food Forest

  1. Tall Tree or Canopy Layer
  2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer
  3. Shrub Layer
  4. Herbaceous Layer
  5. Ground Cover Layer
  6. Underground Layer
  7. Climber, Vine or Vertical Layer

Bonus Layers

8. Aqua/Wetland Layer (Bonus)

9. Mycelial or Fungal Layer (Bonus)

7 Layers of a Food Forest

What is a Food Forest?

Food Forest sometimes called Forest gardening is a low-maintenance, sustainable, plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Wikipedia

Visual of a Food Forest

So How Did We Start and Why?

The ones that take the longest to grow is the place to start. That is the trees. You need to plan where these are going to go, work out your spacing between them depending on the sun, land levels, wind. Peter planned ours using the 12 principles of permaculture design.

Where Did We Plant and Why?

There are many choices of edible yields: apples, cherries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, medlars, pears, plums, raspberries the list goes on….

You need to choose first what you are actually going to eat, there is no point planting 6 different apple varieties if the people you are building this food forest for are not going to eat them.

Second, you need to choose varieties that grow in your local area/country and zone. In Scotland we are not going to get banana, pineapple, coconut trees growing.

Thirdly, you need to decide on sizes, we choose to have all dwarf fruit trees, fruit trees that have been grafted onto dwarf stock root so we can maintain them easier and for the space we have doesn’t really allow for such huge fruit trees canopies.

Due to the Deers running across our grounds daily going from field to field using our grounds ft as a through way we decided to buy a 10ft by 10 fruit cage to start planting in. By doing this, this meant we got started with our 1st layer while being able to observe the land for a few months over the winter before we continued.

Principle 2 of Permaculture Design
July 2019 when first completed
You can see the fruit cage right at the bottom

What Did We Plant and Why?

In here was planted 2 dwarf Apple trees and 2 dwarf pear trees to cover 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer as we already have huge large trees in place to cover 1. Tall Tree or Canopy Layer

Hazel bushes to cover the 3. Shrub Layer, Chives for Layer 4. Herbaceous Layer and some Strawberries to cover 5. Ground Cover Layer which more have been added this month.

2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer- Bush Apple Tree
2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer- Bush Pear Tree

Today this cage has covered:

2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer

3. Shrub Layer

4. Herbaceous Layer

5. Ground Cover Layer

3. Shrub Layer – Hazel Bush

5. Ground Cover Layer – Strawberries

The hanging Strawberry baskets made so many runners this summer, they are on the ground in here rooting to cover the ground over the next year. Once the runners root, we will cut them off and put the hanging baskets back where they were.

Fruit Tree Cage as it looks now

THIS BLOG COVERED:

Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Look out for blog post for Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022


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This blog is from the 🟦 Blue Food Forest Area.

Other related blogs from this area are:

Published by buildingafoodforestscotland

Building a Food Forest -Scotland Edwardian 1903 Home & Garden in Scotland Planting With Permaculture Design

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