Less than forest more than Garden: FOREST GARDENING | BLOG SHURUWAATAGRI
Updated: Mar 28, 2022
What is forest gardening? How is a forest garden different from a natural forest?
Advantages of forest gardening History Components of forest gardening Drawbacks Plants grown Seven layered forest garden
What is forest gardening?
It is a plantation system that mimics a natural forest and where we go for the cultivation of shrubs, fruits, nuts trees, vegetables, etc. in place of trees and plants which are of direct use to humans.
How is forest garden different from natural forest?
Unlike forests with are filled with particular tree crops, forest gardens contain diversity.
Advantages of forest gardening
They yield a high range of varieties of products since we go for maintaining biodiversity in them. It experiences minimal weed growth. It is a low input system. They are aesthetically beautiful. Prevents the occurrence of natural calamities like erosion, flooding. Provides life to wildlife, insects, etc. Holds more commercial value if planned appropriately.
In the 1980s, Robert Hart coined the term forest gardening. In the 1930s, an archaeologist from Smithsonian noticed first nation villages with forest gardens in Alaska, U.S.A.
Components of forest gardening
It includes big trees, small, shrubs, perennials, ground cover layers, root crops, and so on.
Forest gardens go for creating biodiversity.
Plants beneficial to each other are selected and planted for example we can go for mushroom cultivation on timbers.
It is an approach to Sustainable Agriculture where produce is obtained along with ensuring savings for our coming generations.
Though we may go for annual vegetable cultivation generally we opt for perennial ones due to their wider rooting system and CO2 management.
Shrubs and trees need little maintenance apart from pruning operations performed regularly.
We cover the whole surface in this farming that is planting is done on the whole land so as to keep the soil in good condition.
It is labor-intensive at the establishment. It requires a large number of plants.
Plants were grown depending on the type of climate, soil, choice, taste buds of farmers and the population there, site access to plants, topography, etc. As for temperate areas we use shade-loving plants in the understorey layers since the amount of sunlight available is not enough to reach there but this is not the case with tropical ones where intense sunlight is available. Yet generally we grow these mentioned plants Perennial leeks- they are very easy to grow( through bulbils). Kale- cultivated as both annual and perennial, it is a highly nutritious lettuce. Celery- they are very productive and provide leaves, stems, and flower shoots around the year. Wild garlic- is a very reliable, shade tolerant, and productive plant. Potato- could thrive well in organic matter-rich soils. Strawberry, raspberry, daylily, and spinach- are easy to grow. Apple- productive and loved fruit. Rhubarb- multiple uses. Broad bean- cultivated in small clean patches of garden Fuelwood and fodder plants- due to their high demand and use. Deep-rooted plants for nutrient availability like a Banyan tree, peepal, neem, bamboo, etc. Fern leaf yarrow, common yarrow, dill, buckwheat, etc. plants that attract predators of major pests.
Seven layered forest garden
It takes advantage of a great extent of biodiversity. We include roots, ground covers, vines coming onto herbs, shrubs, short trees, and finally the long trees.
Examples could include Roots- potatoes, garlic, beet, etc. Ensure to not put plants that would disturb the roots of other plants.
Ground covers- strawberry, clover, ajuga, etc. along with consumption help utilize space and also prevent the growth of weeds.
Vines- kiwi, grapes being friendly and non-invasive should be adopted as vines.
Herbs- ginger, cardamom, fennel being non-aggressive should be used.
Shrubs- blueberries, bayberries could be raised but do not forget to check your climatic condition and adapt your plant accordingly.
Short trees- peaches, apricots, almonds could be raised.
Tall trees- sal, Gulmohar, neem, etc. could be taken but ensure to let it not disturb activities of underlying trees and not affect sunlight availability to them.