I’ve been awarded a forest garden residency at The Quadrangle Trust in Kent. This is a recognition of the development of our ongoing partnership and I’m greatly looking forward to testing out ideas and supporting the development of the forest garden.
My ongoing remit will be to develop the ongoing strategy for the forest garden, to complex the overall system using permaculture design thinking and to implement a range of experiments to improve the vitality of the forest garden. I will also be delivering more courses in 2015.
I will endeavour to write quarterly blog entries describing our journey as the forest garden evolves and develops more layers of complexity and harmony. Here’s a write up about the permablitz we ran during the summer on the theme of growing your own microbes to improve soil fertility.
My Forest Gardening Experiences
Forest gardening is a design method that mimics a young natural woodland, in which multiple useful species are established in stacked layers from the below the ground level to the tree canopy. By taking advantage of every opportunity, forest gardens are diverse, resilient and productive. This system lends itself to both urban and rural UK environments and I’ve been a passionate advocate of its useage since my first encounter with a productive forest garden in Guatemala.
I also spent six months working in agroforestry systems in Belize and Mexico. Upon my return to the UK in 2010, I took a forest garden design course with Martin Crawford. Once I understood the principles, I then applied them to a forest garden design for Occombe Farm, which was planted up in January 2011.
Applying forest garden design can restore ecological function, fruit growing and stack multiple yields to breathe new life into these orchards. Creating community interest in these sorts of projects are becoming the social glue in communities today and The Quadrangle Trust’s forest garden is a great example of this.