Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What is Forest Gardening

It is a form of perennial Agroforestry that uses every layer of the growing environment (there are 7 of these) to produce food, materials for shelter, medicinal and other useful properties such as dyes, detergent and string. In fact everything that is needed to sustain human life.
Furthermore the idea is to grow perennial plants that form relationships with each other so that there is less manual work required in maintaining the efficiency and abundance of various crops. The forest garden is planned to ensure that there is as much variety as possible so that the production of food in particular is spread over as long a period as possible.

To this end many species are planted that are from other parts of the world so that additional diversity is introduced. This also gives us many clues as to how climate change is affecting growing conditions here in West Wales. This makes my forest garden somewhat experimental., the results over the last 10 years have been mixed but last year I had a record crop of Japanese plums (Prunus salicina) where 3 trees averaged over 60 Kg each and 7 Kg of sweet chestnuts (Castanea sativa) .

I will be updating this blog througout the season with pics of blossom/fruit and autumn colour together with comments on
plants that have thrived and those that have not.

primroses are abundant right now so why not pick a flower or two and eat as you go or even collect a few to scatter over your salad delicious!!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Waking up to Spring

Flowering in the Forest Garden right now:

Cornus mas--Cornelian Cherry. Large shrub with yellow flowers that come out before the foliage, we had a bumper year last time with a heavy crop from both the bushes, but there is a new boy on the block so there are 3  in flower this year, ever tried Cornelain Cherry Jam? its really good.

Prunus tomentosa -Nankin cherry this failed last year due to a late frost so lets hope it gets through the next few weeks without damage. Small bush 1 x1 mt, delightful pink/carmine flowers Produces small red tart cherries great raw or cooked.

Just around the corner are cherry plum,japanese plum,almond and apricot.There will be a riot of blossom from now on.