What is a forest garden?

A forest garden is a culture that tries to mimic natural ecosystems, such as a timber, a grove or a forest edge. Forest garden dominated by perennial (perenna) plants and is characterized by a structure in different layers, both above and below ground, as the illustration below shows. Using the various layers, the plants can utilize the incident sunlight, water and nutrients optimally. Unlike a natural ecosystem forest garden filled with plants that are beneficial to humans, such as beef- and fruit trees, bushes and perennial vegetables. There are also some plants that are purely functional, such as nitrogen-fixing plants, which improves the soil or ground cover that protects the soil and keep it moist like leaves in a forest edge.

Forest garden's seven layers

The objectives of a forest garden is to get a high yield from many different plants and to the greatest extent possible to create a self-tailing cultivation that requires as little human effort as possible. The forest garden would also take advantage of and use local resources to create a good ecological health. The objectives of the forest garden can be achieved by minimizing competition between plants, ensure that the ground is covered all the time and by providing opportunities for forest garden to create their own fertility by means such as nitrogen-fixing plants. In a healthy forest garden there are varying environments and flowering plants for much of the season to benefit the species, animals and insects that help with pests and pollination. All this creates living soil and provide healthy plants, which in turn means that we can eventually let nature do much of the work in the forest garden.

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