The Home-Scale Forest Garden How to Plan, Plant, and Tend a Resilient Edible Landscape, reviewed

We look past the latest book published by Chelsea Green publishing, see more about the book here. The Home-Scale Forest Garden How to Plan, Plant, and Tend a Resilient Edible Landscape, is written by Dani Baker.

The Home-Scale Forest Garden How to Plan, Plant, and Tend a Resilient Edible Landscape, reviewed

Dani Baker is a self taught gardener, who has learned by experience. This works well in this book as her ideas and insights are walked through based on lessons learned and experiences that have happened to her.

Part 1 begins with, as it always should, planning and planting. It always makes sense to sit with the space, see what it does all year round, what the weather does, how the wind, rain and sun all impacts on the site. Then she dives into painting by levels, she refers to them as the overstory, understory and then shrubs, herbs, ground cover, vines and fungi.

This diversity of plant types is a good prompt for discussion and food for thought. Not all plants might be relevant for an Irish or UK garden, but at the same time many of the plants she has tried out are not native to her local either. Which means you are reading about interesting potential options from Korea, Japan and other interestingly diverse locations.

Throughout the book Baker interspaces the book with interesting asides and anecdotes about growing experiences she has had with the various plants utilised. This makes the book human, insightful, and a good reminder that it is always worth trying out different options. It might not always work, and that might be because the plant is fundamentally unsuited, or simply because it was done at the wrong time of year, with the wrong combination of weather that followed after its planting.

An interesting and enjoyable book to read.

See more about the book here

Learn how to create an edible forest garden—perfect for gardeners and growers at any scale!

Includes over 100 cold-hardy berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, perennial vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, mushrooms, and more.

When market gardener Dani Baker attended a permaculture workshop at her local Cooperative Extension office in upstate New York, she was inspired by its message of working with nature to create a thriving edible garden ecosystem. She immediately launched a new experiment she dubbed the “Enchanted Edible Forest.” In The Home-Scale Forest Garden, Baker shares what she learned as she became a forest gardener, providing a practical, in-depth guide to creating a beautiful, bountiful edible landscape at any scale—from a few dozen square feet to an acre or more.

Baker provides information on planning, planting, and maintaining a resilient forest garden ecosystem, including:

  •   Using permaculture principles
  •   Observing and mapping your space
  •   Building planting beds, including hügelkultur mounds
  •   Coping with saturated soil
  •   Matching perennial edible plants to the right growing conditions
  •   Grouping plants in diverse layers that attract and shelter beneficial insects and birds
  •   Creating microclimates to increase the range of plants you can grow
  •   Pruning, propagating, managing pests, and more
  •   Expending less energy for greater reward

The Home-Scale Forest Garden is complete with descriptions of over 100 food-bearing and multifunctional plants for every layer of a forest garden: overstory and understory trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, groundcovers, vines, and mushrooms, too.

The book includes over 200 photographs taken over 10 years of forest development, along with illustrations of a garden layout and special plant groupings for a range of conditions, including hot, dry sites and shady, moist sites.

Throughout, Baker candidly shares both her mistakes and her successes to help readers better understand the dynamics of a forest garden as it grows and changes over time. From her Asian Pear Adventure and Tamarack Travesty to her discoveries of unique ways to rescue and transplant tree seedlings, readers will appreciate the practical advice as she recounts lessons learned from her grand edible gardening experiment.

This is the perfect guide for gardeners of all experience levels who want to work with nature’s model and expand the range of food crops they grow as they embark on their own forest garden adventure.

“Experienced gardeners with a serious interest in sustainability would do well to check this out.”—Publishers Weekly

More about the author

About Dani Baker

Dani Baker and her partner, David Belding, farm at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada, where they raise certified organic produce and grass-fed beef and goats. Dani is a retired clinical psychologist and a self-taught gardener who learned her craft by immersing herself in reading, poring over nursery catalogs, attending workshops on permaculture and gardening, and enthusiastic trial-and-error experimentation.

Dani now conducts workshops and tours at her edible forest garden as well as giving presentations at organic farming conferences and other venues. She takes particular pleasure in inspiring others to try their hand at incorporating permaculture principles in their gardens.

Connect with this author
Cross Island Farms
The Enchanted Edible Forest Website

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