Forest Gardening

Gardening wants to be like the Forest - natural, uninhabited, uncultivated, not domesticated.  I want to let my gardens grow in dense masses of vertical or tangled objects, lacking discipline or restraint.  Along with planning for my home vegetable garden, and urban agriculture farmers market business, I'm doing research with the hope of suggesting to my landlords that I turn sections of our lot into an urban forest garden.

Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat. [w]

Forest gardening, as developed in the 1960s by Robert Hart, was in some ways the predecessor to permaculture as many of us know it today.  Succinctly stated by many of the food forest garden professionals, these plantings are "perennial polycultures of multi-purpose plants powered by the sun".  Robert Hart developed an intercropping system across the landscape, consisting of the following layers:

I am still at the information gathering stage of this idea, but I have found some excellent resources online.

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