Grow your own seasonal food in a low maintenance, nature-friendly garden that feels like a woodland glade. Scottish plant expert Alan Carter shows you how to plan and plant a temperate forest garden for any sized plot-from a small terrace garden to an allotment or smallholding.
Learn how to successfully layer root crops, fruit, perennial vegetables and edible shrubs below tree crops, cultivating an edible garden that doesn't look like a traditional vegetable plot. A forest garden is wildlife friendly, provides nutrient-dense and often unusual food through every season, and requires minimal work to maintain.
The first part of this in-depth, practical guide explains how a forest garden works, how to map your climate and design your own plot, and how to manage it with mulching, weeding and pruning. What's not to like about Alan's motto of "the more you pick, the more you get," and intriguing concepts such as the Panda Principle?
The second half of the book is a detailed directory of more than 170 plants and fungi suitable for a wide range of temperate climates, complete with growing, harvesting and cooking tips based on over a decade of Alan's own experience. Learn how to incorporate traditional fruit and vegetable crops, such as strawberries and beans, into your forest garden, and how to weave in more unusual crops, such as shiitake mushrooms and ferns.
Techniques from agro-ecology bring regenerative farming into the backyard, helping you to work towards greater self-sufficiency. Useful tips on seed saving and propagation help keep plant costs low, and there is practical advice on soil health, compost essential for all no dig, organic gardeners and pests and disease. A Food Forest in Your Garden will help you create your own productive forest gardens even in cooler climates.
Alan Carter studied forestry and has worked variously in forestry, gardening, conservation and greenspace management. He has been writing and teaching about forest gardening since 2011, having spent many years experimenting with it on his allotment in Aberdeen.
"Whether you want to follow in Alan's footsteps and become a dedicated forest gardener or are simply curious about this fascinating and sustainable way of producing food, you will love this book. Having converted his allotment into a haven for wild food he dispels a common myth that the first requirement of a forest garden is a forest!"
– Steve Ott, editor of Kitchen Garden magazine
"Alan walks us through the theory and reality of creating a food forest, whatever the size of our plot. As the processes and delights of creating a home garden unfold, we are guided by useful observations and practical information. The directory of forest garden plants is an eye-opener and has me rethinking so many plants I've dismissed in the past. I wish I'd read this book before creating our first food forest!"
– Liz Zorab, Byther Farm, author of Grounded: A Gardener's Journey to Abundance and Self-Sufficiency
"This is the book we in the North have been waiting for, as Alan Carter has a realistic understanding of the climate. He comes up with a remarkable range of edible plants that will 'do' and all the techniques needed to get them established, making a British forest garden seem wholly desirable and possible."
– Fi Martynoga is a writer, forager, gardener and the editor of Scotland's Wild Harvests
"Alan Carter has always impressed me as a follower and as a leader. If you enjoy this book it will be because of his very practical knowledge, wisdom achieved over many years, by trial and error and by observation – as all the best learning is done. And it will be because that resonates with you. His deep spiritual commitment to the process is shared by all true Forest Gardeners. We don't just love our gardens, they love us! Beautifully illustrated, every page of this book speaks from the heart. If you need any more incentive to enrich your life and that of your family and friends I don't know where you'll find it! We invest in the wisdom of others that we may ourselves share it onwards."
– Graham Burnett, permaculture educator and author