How Glorious Woodlands will design your food forest
Glorious Woodlands will discuss what your desired goals and outcomes are for your food forest. For example, fruit (such as apples, grapes, pears, plums), vegetables (including potatoes, horseradish, artichokes, onions), herbs and salads (lemon balm, mint, sorrel), nuts and seeds (almonds, hazels, sweet chestnut), mushrooms and fungi, beverages (cider, elderflower cordial, nettle beer) or educational projects, wildlife habitats, relaxation space, or something else!
Some of these foods are best grown in clearings and the fringes of your woodland.
Glorious Woodlands will incorporate shelter for your food forest in your woodland design. Shelter from frost and cold winds can be created from hedgerow, trees, shrubs and other plants. We will make sure the height of protective hedges is one eighth of the size of the area to be protected. Multifunctional species such as edible crops as well as nitrogen fixers such as alder (Alnus), broom (Cytisus), silverberry (Elaeagnus), and others maintain soil fertility and encourage fungi.
Creating your food forest
Creating the canopy of your food forest involves considering the distance of the top fruit and nut trees in order to avoid overcrowding. Glorious Woodlands will place larger trees on the north side of your woodland so that smaller trees can fit on the south side is important to ensure the plants can obtain nutrients. The understorey can be made up of salad and vegetable crops. An important function of the lower levels is to provide mulch for spreading plants such as wild garlic. This helps invasive species such as nettles taking over as well as maintaining soil moisture. Aromatic plants promote healthy food forests as they contain anti fungal properties. This includes lemon balm and mint.
Glorious Woodlands will discuss the plants you would like in your food forest, when making decisions about plants it’s important to consider how much maintenance you wish there to be considering how the food forest evolves. Most forest foods are low maintenance because they are self-sustaining ecosystems. Glorious Woodlands will design paths for easy access to your food forest and we will consider what equipment you may need for maintenance and therefore how wide the paths should be.
Benefits for the environment
Forest foods are self-sustaining ecosystems and permaculture is the system of developing a sustainable ecosystem. As a result, no chemical pesticides or fertilisers are required in a food forest because each layer holds habitats for a predator that feeds on the insect pests.
Forest food is reasonably low maintenance as they are harmonious, self regulating ecosystems. Forest foods provide balance as they are in cohesion with the natural world around them, as wildlife defecate they spread more seeds naturally expanding your forest food harvest. This creates a cycle of providing habitats for more wildlife. Trees regenerate the top soil by shedding their leaves which feeds the soil beneath them. While doing so, adding nutrients to the ground provides fertile earth for future growing and enhancing the natural woodland. (The Food Forest Project)
Alongside food produce, the food forest can include materials for hobbies:
Handicrafts such as willows for basketry and short-term coppice.
Special woods for carving and incense
Garden mulches from chipped waste to increase the productivity
Medicinal plants such as thyme, and oil crops such as eucalyptus.
Natural wind breaks
Agroforestry can also involve making field windbreaks which increases production by 25% while protecting wind-sensitive crops such as cereal, vegetables and orchard crops. Windbreak spacing depends on windbreak height, soil erodibility, crop sensitivity and rotation and climate.