research News

It's quite far apart the posts on this blog right now, the reason being that we are about to finish writing the last pages of our upcoming book of forest gardening and do not have time for much else writing at the moment. At the same time, however, move a little on the frontier of forest gardening and here I want to tell about interesting reading. First came just over a month ago a items written by Johanna Björklund, Karin Eksvärd and Christina Schaffer about the participatory research project demolished around 12 pieces of timber gardens 60 sqm each which began in 2013. The article describes in detail how the plantation was designed and species included in the grove. A fun result from the study is that the participants found it a simple task to provide themselves with vitamins and minerals for much of the season from the forest garden. It has all that is in timber gardens have long known, but now there are also black and white. Another thing many are suspicious is that it is more difficult for the forest garden to provide us with proteins, fat and carbohydrates, something which the authors believe need to be examined much more to come. To read a more detailed report on the research project can be Swedish final report highly recommended.

Here was one of the forest gardens that were part of the participatory research project in the summer 2015.

Another new research report is written by my partner Rebecka Törnqvist. It's called Limitations and opportunities of forest gardening in the Swedish climate and the project was funded by the Royal Forestry and Agricultural Academy. The report includes both a literature study on water- and nitrogen-related issues in the Nordic forest horticulture and a presentation of the results of measurements and calculations performed here in Putt Myra forest garden. Are you interested in setting up a water- or nitrogen balance for your timber garden, you can find tips on how it can be achieved in the report. The contributions of nitrogen fixation and water balance in the forest garden that I wrote about a year ago based on Rebekah's literature, but it has been much more exciting during the work. For example, I have long wondered what are the biggest differences in growing conditions here in Dalarna, compared with, for example, Martin Crawford cultivation in southwest England or the famous woodland gardens in the northeastern US. The answer is found in the table below, which is the same as Table 6 in the report. As shown, perhaps the most important factor of the rainfall during the growing season when it comes to the comparison between the Swedish forest gardens and the North American. All three North American example, ie, Mark Shepard New Forest Farm, Ben Falk's farm in Vermont and Erik Toensmeiers urban forest garden Massachusetts receives more rainfall than the plants need optimal growth. Otherwise, the growing conditions on the basis of these parameters are essentially the same as for Holma forest garden Skane. Regarding the lush English woodland gardens we can see that they play in another league simply, Highly årsmedeltemperaturer, tremendously long growing seasons and ample rainfall, in particular Martin Crawfords fall.

A positive water balance is crucial to have a highly productive forest garden.

Table of different culture conditions skogsträdgårdars: Precipitation (årsmedel, P year, and during the growing period, P veg), temperature årsmedel (T), vegetation period length (veg period), potential evaporation (PET) and the ratio of P veg and PET timber gardens in temperate climate zones of Europe and North America.







Veg period*




Pveg /PET


Puttmyra (Dalarna) 600 a 360 a 4,3 a 180 550 a 0,65
Holma (Skåne) 699 a 398 a 6,9 a 210 600 a 0,66
Barstow (Trondheim, Norway) 884 b 519 b 5,2 b 180 600 g 0,87
Hart (Shropshire, UK) 668 c 504 c 9,9 c 270 550 d 0,92
Crawford (Devon, UK) 848 c 848 c 11,4 c >310 600 d 1,41
Falk (Vermont, USA) 949 e 623 e 6,2 e 210 560 i 1,11
Shepard (Wisconsin, USA) 878 e 705 e 6,4 e 210 650 h 1,08
Toensmeier (Massachusetts, USA) 1212 e 762 e 8,7 e 210 580 i 1,31

A Data from SMHI open climate data for 1961-1990:, b Climate Data for 1982-2012: c UK Met Office for the period 1981-2010:, d Kay and Davis, 2008 for 1961-1990 , e US Climate Data for 1961-1990 f real evaporation Sanford and Selnik, 2013 for 1971-2000 g Wong och Beldring, 2011 for 1961-1990, h Cowell and Urban 2010 for 1961-1990, i Northeast regional climate centre for the period 1981-2010. *The growing season is defined (according to SMHI) that the period of days agent is greater than 5 ° C.

This research project is completed, but we hope to find further funding to immerse ourselves in including skogsträdgårdars potential to capture and store carbon dioxide. In anticipation of the next big project, Rebekah received a small grant from Flory Gates foundation "Peace with the Earth" to do a feasibility study on perennial green toys nutrition and their potential ability to accumulate heavy metals from the soil they are grown in. It was a question that we failed to get any response when we wrote the book Perennial vegetables: discover, grow, enjoy and it feels great to have come a step closer to an answer.

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3 thoughts on “research News”

  • Good work!
    Downloaded both research to read them in peace or quiet and look forward to the book!

  • Interesting reading. If I understand it right, half of rain in Stjärnsund during the growing period? If this is too little, it should mean that it is important to store water in ponds and ditches to keep the spring flood? It also reduces spring frosts? Important to avoid soil compaction to have deep roots?

    Proteins and fats get well easily by animals. Plants are more for the extra healthy. It is well illustrated by the saying that it was when “we” began to boil meat that the brain could start growing on apmänniskorna. It comes, apparently even if you want intelligent children – Economy and Energy.

    to England, Central Europe and other warmer countries is another thing is evident throughout history. Fertile fertile countries are those where it lives and has lived much people. In the Bronze Age, we had looked like this, perhaps. The advantage here is well otherwise been that it is not so much parasites because of the winters. Until not so long ago was apparently the best hides away. Leather industry has, however, disappeared with taxes. Even parasite situation has now changed with the opening of borders.

    • In vindruvsbranschen measure anything resembling temperature of ten degrees times the time and the light to get any sort of growing period in hours instead of days which gives good results here in the north, with long, light days?. How is this when they compared the forest gardens?

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