This post is by Heather Thorpe on Food Forests. She will be teaching at a a Food Forest workshop on the 18th May 11am-2.30pm at the Oatlands Community Garden. Please contact Jo Bain for details.
THE EVOLUTION OF AN URBAN FOOD FOREST
This was the first stage of the forest and the construction of six(6) No Dig beds. We constructed these over the existing lawn to create Zone One. We had extremely great yields from these beds. I made 12 bottles of chutney, 7 of pasta sauce, 5 tomato and passionfruit jam and dehydrated seventy (70) kilos of tomatoes. This was as well as all the tomatoes we ate and gave away. All this from nine (9) bushes. I made my own paprika, an activity well worth the effort. We grew so much food !!
We have constructed six (6) more beds between the original beds during the Winter. We once again used the No Dig method. Why do we use this method? It builds new soil as the beds are in situ compost heaps that you plant into. You create a container to put your plant into and fill it with compost or potting mix. This sustains the plants or seeds until their roots reach the soil. We grew in these beds this Summer but didn’t have as good a yield as the season wasn’t as good as the previous one plus we were spending time doing other things including extending the food forest area..
We have extended further . The entire area will be now converted to growing the food forest and all the lawn is going. There will be three (3) fruit trees planted on the southern side of the area to create the canopy level of the forest. The next level will be two(2) blueberries. We wont be planting densely due to our Cool Temperate climatic zone. The fruit trees will be pleached to allow the sunlight to reach the understory plants and the herb beds beyond. The remainder of the forest will be a variety of food and useful plants of varying mid level and understory height. The remaining grass will have beds on it. The area with carpet on it is to be the pathway with a centre feature