How to Make a Forest Garden

Front Cover
Permanent Publications, 1996 - Gardening - 168 pages

A forest garden is a food-producing garden, based on the model of a natural woodland or forest. It is made up of fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes, perennial vegetables and herbs. It can be tailored to fit any space, from a tiny urban back yard to a large rural garden.

A close copy of a natural ecosystem, it is perhaps the most ecologically friendly way of gardening open to us.

It is also a low-maintenance way of gardening. Once established there is none of the digging, sowing, planting out and hoeing of the conventional kitchen garden. The main task is picking up the produce!

This highly practical, yet inspiring book gives you everything you need to know in order to create a beautiful and productive forest garden,

  • Basic principles
  • Layout
  • How to choose plants
  • Details of over one hundred plants, from apples to mushrooms
  • the most comprehensive account of perennial and self-seeding vegetables in print
  • A step-by-step guide to creating your garden
  • Full details of an example garden, and pictures of many more

Forest gardening is an important element of permaculture. This book explains in detail permaculture design for temperate climates and contains much of interest for anybody wanting to introduce sustainable practices into their garden.


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Well-written. Good overview and list of plants to use (although more relevant to the UK). Would have like to have seen more examples of forest garden design (pictures or diagrams) and discussion on plant placement and root size as well as close-planting of fruit trees, which seems to be a thing these days, and grafting to diversify your crops. Would have also liked some more advice on keeping the garden low-maintenance.  

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PaulBoundy - LibraryThing

British climate focus Read full review


Why Grow a Forest Garden? Choosing Plants
13 The Trees
Putting Things Together CHAPTER 9
The principles of forest garden design putting the The Vegetables
45 Collecting information Recording Evaluation
Preparation Planting and Maintenance Plant Index

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About the author (1996)

Patrick Whitefield (1949 - 2015) was an early pioneer of permaculture, adapting Bill Mollison's teachings with a strong Southern Hemisphere bias to the cooler, maritime climate of the British Isles. He wrote a number of seminal books, including Permaculture in a Nutshell (1993), How to Make a Forest Garden (1996), The Living Landscape (2009), How To Read the Landscape (2014) and his magnum opus, The Earth Care Manual (2004), an authoritative resource on practical, tested, cool temperate permaculture. Patrick appeared in several BBC TV programmes, popular gardening videos, and taught many permaculture and other practical courses, throughout the UK.

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