Deer-Proof Permaculture (With Plant Lists!)

While our garden supplies a variety of 300 species of fruit, nuts and vegetables, many of which are choice delicacies rarely found even in expensive health-food stores, the greatest yield we obtain from our Permaculture garden is our interaction with nature. We love watching the fleet of deer, turkeys, a huge variety of birds, groundhogs, squirrels, voles, moles, shrews, deermice, rabbits, toads, snakes, fox, owls, bats, etc. and a micro-managerie of colorful, whirling invertebrates who are all frequent guests in our garden. “Our garden.”  A uniquely human but certainly in-humane concept.  Really, there are quite a few individuals, friends, we’ve … Continue reading Deer-Proof Permaculture (With Plant Lists!)

Selecting Trees for a Forest Garden: What to plant and How Many

These days, the “new” wisdom is that – 100, 400, 1,000 – “you can’t plant too many fruit trees!” Not surprisingly, this advice most often gets repeated by nursery businesses that sell fruit trees. And as a guy with a small nursery business, sure, I agree with it, but I add a HUGE caveat: it depends on what kind of tree you’re planting. The problem is fruit trees are work. Work, work, work! If you buy a bunch of fruit trees, you’re buying yourself a bunch of work!  So I break down trees into how much work -time, energy and care – they … Continue reading Selecting Trees for a Forest Garden: What to plant and How Many

Why We Love Forest Gardening

It’s pretty simple: “forest gardening” is the easiest, least time-consuming, most beautiful and most cost-effective way we’ve ever discovered to grow a large amount of healthy diverse fruits and vegetables at home and in our community. It’s a style of gardening that grows food on many layers, from tall fruit and nut trees down to root crops like carrots, with berry bushes, vegetables and small trees filling in the between. It’s a way of emulating nature, to get ecosystems to do the heavy lifting for us in the garden and take some work off our human shoulders. It certainly isn’t … Continue reading Why We Love Forest Gardening

Thoughts on Microclimates for the Forest Garden

Once Spring arrives, if you’re like me, you naturally shed your mental resistance to winter cold. The cold that would have tickled in February stings the skin bitterly by April. But for most of us, knock on wood, the danger’s mostly psychological.  (Naturally-occurring micrclimate in England, hosting tropical tree ferns in a temperate climate. Wikimedia) But if you’re a fruit tree, (or fruit grower) there’s a real risk of loss as sensitive buds are prone to damage from a sudden, unexpected cold.  One of our apricots is in just entering a sensitive stage, “first white,” as a polar vortex descends … Continue reading Thoughts on Microclimates for the Forest Garden