Monday, July 27, 2009

The Forest Garden Immersion Course 2009 was a huge success, with 30+ people working to plant another 10,000 square feet of multifunctional forest garden at Camp Epworth. You can see photos at the FGIC09 Flickr group here:

During the course, our documentation team (led by Alice Lo) did an incredible job of articulating exactly what and where everything was planted - from the fruit trees to the herbaceous understory to the patch of king Stropharia mushrooms. To download a PDF file of the raw documentation notebook, click here.

This sort of documentation is rarely done for forest garden & permaculture plantings -- and is totally necessary if we are going to do any legitimate research into the productivity and low-maintenance of Edible Forest Gardens. To learn more about ongoing documentation efforts of forest gardens across the temperate climate biomes of the world, visit the Apios Institute and the official Edible Forest Gardens home page.

Stay tuned for upcoming Forest Garden Immersion Courses in the Northeast and around the world!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Food Forests Across America Radio Show!

Listen to this incredible radio show featuring Ethan Roland of the Forest Garden Immersion Course! Six forest gardeners from across the US discuss the new Campaign and the abundant possibilities of perennial agriculture across the continent. Listen here:

Click here to sign up for the Forest Garden Immersion Course NOW!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Plantlist for Plant Trade!

From the Course Handbook:

Plant Trade
This is the second year we are offering this innovative program. To reduce your course fees and support the genetic diversity of forest gardens at Camp Epworth, simply bring along divisions of multifunctional perennials to plant in the herbaceous understory! Each plant you bring reduces your course fee by $1, to a maximum of $50 off. A list of desired & accepted plant species can be found on the blog and social network.

Here's the list!

• COMFREY (Symphytum spp.)

• SORREL (Rumex acetosa or other spp.)

• YARROW (Achillea millefolium)

• CLOVER (Trifolium spp.)

• ANISSE HYSSOP (Agastache foeniculum)


- ▼ Fruit
- ‧ Ground Cherry
- ‧ Garden Strawberry
- ‧ Woodland Strawberry
- ▼ Dynamic Accumulators
- ‧ Comfrey
- ‧ Nettle
- ‧ Yarrow
- ‧ Sorrel
- ‧ Chicory
- ‧ Chives
- ‧ Garlic Chives
- ▼ Nitrogen Fixers
- ‧ Lupin
- ‧ Clover - Red, White, Crimson
- ‧ Vetch
- ‧ Birdsfoot Trefoil
- ‧ Baptisia
- ▼ Perennial Vegetables
- ‧ Good King Henry
- ‧ Sea Kale
- ‧ Welsh Onion, Chivs, Garlic Chives, Egyptian onion
- ‧ Walking Onions
- ‧ Asparagus
- ‧ Rhubarb
- ‧ Lovage
- ‧ Daylilly
- ‧ Sunchokes
- ‧ Groundnut (Apios americana)
- ‧ Mintroot (Stachys officinalis)
- ‧ Hops
- ‧ Horseradish
- ‧ Fuki (Petasites)
- ‧ Water celery (Oenanthe javanica)
- ‧ Mache
- ‧ Shiso (Perilla frutescens)
- ‧ Miner's lettuce
- ‧ Milkweed (Asclepias)
- ▼ Insectaries
- ‧ Hyssops - Yellow, Giant, Anisse
- ‧ Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
- ‧ Echinacea
- ‧ Poppies
- ‧ Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
- ‧ Calendula
- ‧ Wild Bergamot
- ‧ Roman Chamomile
- ‧ Chamomile
- ‧ Mint (any spp.)
- ‧ Green & Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Course Handbook Now Available

The Forest Garden Immersion Course Handbook is now available:

This handbook provides lots of updates about the course and all the information you will need to complete your payments, make your travel arrangements, connect with other forest gardeners, and arrive at Camp Epworth to get your hands in the soil!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Forest Gardening in a Nutshell

What comes to mind when you think of a forest garden? Here are two quotes that sum up forest gardening in a nutshell - but what do you see?

“Forest gardening is an idea whose time has come. We can consciously apply the principles of ecology to the design of home scale gardens that mimic forest ecosystem structure and function, but grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, ‘farmaceuticals,’ and fun….Edible forest gardening is the art and science of putting plants together in woodland-like patterns that forge mutually beneficial relationships, creating a garden ecosystem that is more than the sum of its parts. You can grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, other useful plants, and animals in a way that mimics natural ecosystems.” Edible Forest Gardens - Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier,

“The idea behind forest gardening is that natural forests produce an abundance of food. People the world over have harvested food from the forest, reaping where they did not sow. Forest gardeners imitate the forest’s natural structure to take advantage of this abundance, but they increase yields even further through careful planning and management. The result is a productive fusion of garden, orchard and woodland…One of the main differences between a forest garden and the typical food garden is that forest gardens rely on perennials.” Plant an Edible Forest Garden - Harvey Ussery, Mother Earth News (August/September 2007),

Forest Garden Immersion Course: April 2009 Schedule

For the latest schedule for the Forest Garden Immersion course, visit

See you all soon!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Plant a Polyculture Patch

If you are like me, you move often. As a renter, you may not have a yard of your own – but regardless, you can put down some roots by planting a polyculture patch.

Unlike a monoculture, you create a polyculture by planting more than one plant species or variety in an area. I planted just one patch, instead of an entire garden, to make the project more manageable in terms of time commitment and cost.

Thanks to having a great landlord, I planted the polyculture in my back yard. If your relationship with your landowner is tenuous, consider guerilla gardening.

The inspiration for our polyculture was a recently donated apple tree and I bought a few complimentary plants:

  • Yarrow to attract beneficial insects, act as ground cover, and use medicinally.

  • Sorrel, also to attract beneficial insects and act as ground cover, with the added benefits of being a biodynamic accumulator and just plain yummy.

  • Anise Hyssop, once again, to attract the good insects and make a delicious tea.

The quick version of my process: I laid out each plant, planted them appropriately, added sheet mulch (newspaper and cardboard), compost, and wood chips, and watered.

Within a half hour, with no tilling, I had my polyculture patch.

Planting this way not only reduces the time committment; it also increases the likelihood that the tree will survive. Thanks to the ground cover, it will cut down on the erosion my backyard tends to suffer from, while someday providing us with apples, salad greens, and medicinals.

This year, as my friends divide their perennials, I will add more supportive plants to this polyculture patch and build a new patch: for pawpaws