Creating a Forest Garden: Working With Nature to Grow Edible Crops

Author(s): Martin Crawford

Self Sufficiency

Forest gardening is a novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops grown in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Species are carefully chosen for their beneficial effects on each other, creating a healthy system that maintains its own fertility.


Creating a Forest Garden tells you everything you need to know, whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot. It includes advice on planning, design (using permaculture principles), planting and maintenance, and a detailed directory of over 500 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, annuals, root crops and climbers – almost all of them edible and many very unusual.


As well as more familiar plants you can grow your own chokeberries, goji berries, yams, heartnuts, bamboo shoots and buffalo currants – while creating a beautiful space that has great environmental benefits. In the light of our changing climate it is important that we find new ways of growing food sustainably, without compromising soil health, food quality or biodiversity. Forest gardening offers an exciting solution to the challenge.


Product Information

Shortlisted for Garden Media Guild Book Award: Practical Book of the Year 2010.

"This book is a magnificiently produced and massive tome that is sure to become every forest gardener's horticultural toolkit and bible." Grow It "Marting has produced a book that is not only visually beautiful but very practical, offering advice on planning, designing, planting and general maintenance." Positive News - Summer 2010 "If you are seriously considering the creation or maitenance of a forest garden then you would do well to have this book on your shelves. Even if you are only looking for novel ground cover suggestions in shaded areas or approaches to inter-planting trees, then this book offers bountiful food for thought." Green Prophet "Creating a Forest Garden is a fascniating read for gardeners interested in how to plant communities that work." Gardens Illustrated "Martin Crawford has produced a spectacularly useful guide to new horticulutral and ecological terrain of great importance." Permaculture Activist "This semina piece of work is not only visually entralling, it's incredibly easy to use and it contains a level of detail and explanation that makes it, I believe, a must read for anyone who is serious about building a truly sustainable forest." WWOOF Ireland "Martin's book is visually stunning with beautiful photography and illustrations, accompanying very informative and well constructed text." Self Sufficient-ish Website - 11 June 2010 "This book is a must if you are interested in producing food from your garden, becoming more self-sufficient or just curious about plants and their uses." The Cottage Gardener - June 2011

Martin started his working life a computer programmer but his passion for organic gardening quickly led to a change in career. Martin has had broad and varied horticultural/agricultural experience over the last 25 years - he has worked for the Yarner Trust in North Devon teaching small-scale organic agriculture; grown food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restored the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and run his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon. His experience led him to the concept of forest gardening as a sustainable system that can flourish in our changing climate conditions and it was this that led to the founding of the Agroforestry Research Trust in 1992, where he has been systematically researching plant interactions, unusual crops, etc over the past 15 years. He currently manages a 2 acre Forest Garden in Dartington which he planted 15 years ago, he runs a commercial tree nursery specialising in unusual trees and shrubs and has an 8-acre trial site, researching fruit and nut trees. He also teaches courses on Forest Gardening and Growing Nut Crops, writes books and edits a quarterly journal, Agroforestry News. He is a director of 'Gaia', a Trust formed by James Lovelock to further his work. He lives in Dartington with his wife and 2 children. See www.agroforestry.co.uk for more information.

Foreword by Rob Hopkins Introduction Part 1: How forest gardens work 1. Forest gardens 2. Forest garden features and products 3. The effects of climate change 4. Natives and exotics 5. Emulating forest conditions 6. Fertility in forest gardens Part 2: Designing your forest garden 7. Ground preparation and planting 8. Growing your own plants 9. First design steps 10. Designing wind protection 11. Canopy species 12. Designing the canopy layer 13. Shrub species 14. Designing the shrub layer 15. Herbaceous perennial and ground-cover species 16. Designing the perennial/ground-cover layer 17. Annuals, biennials and climbers 18. Designing with annuals, biennials and climbers Part 3: Extra design elements and maintenance 19. Clearings 20. Paths 21. Fungi in forest gardens 22. Harvesting and preserving 23. Maintenance 24. Ongoing tasks Glossary Appendix 1: Propagation tables Appendix 2: Trees and shrubs for hedging and fencing Appendix 3: Plants to attract beneficial insects and bees Appendix 4: Edible crops by month of use Resources: Useful organisations, suppliers and publications

General Fields

  • : 9781900322621
  • : Green Books
  • : Green Books
  • : January 2010
  • : 255mm X 205mm X 28mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : en
  • : 635
  • : 384
  • : full colour illus
  • : Martin Crawford