Public Permaculture Garden / Food Forests

 

  • A Public Permaculture Garden or Commons is  a gardened area for the use and benefit of the surrounding community and visitors, where the methods used and decisions made mimic the interrelationships found in nature. There is an emphasis on perennial plants that require minimal maintenance yet produce a high yield of food.
  • The concept of a food forest has its roots in permaculture, a philosophy that advocates for managing agricultural landscapes in harmony with nature. The practice emphasizes perennial, low-maintenance plants that leverage natural nutrient inputs, drainage patterns and climate to achieve a self-sustaining, food-producing ecosystem. A food forest is quite literally a forest that produces food for people (and, most certainly, forest critters) to eat. Nut and fruit-producing trees and shrubs are planted with herbs, vines and ground flora that produce fruits, vegetables, and edible greens and roots.
  • Robert Hart pioneered a system based on the observation that the natural forest can be divided into distinct levels:
    1. Canopy layer’ consisting of the original mature fruit trees.
    2. Low-tree layer’ of smaller nut and fruit trees on dwarfing root stocks.
    3. Shrub layer’ of fruit bushes such as currants and berries.
    4. Herbaceous layer’ of perennial vegetables and herbs.
    5. Rhizosphere’ or ‘underground’ dimension of plants grown for their roots and tubers.
    6. Ground cover layer’ of edible plants that spread horizontally.
    7. Vertical layer’ of vines and climbers.

    The seven layers of the forest garden

  • In permaculture, sheet mulching is an agricultural no-dig gardening technique that attempts to mimic natural forests’ processes. When deployed properly and in combination with other permacultural principles, it can generate healthy, productive, and low maintenance ecosystems.
  • All maintenance work is done by volunteers and focuses on soil building. Dead plant material in the garden is considered a valuable resource not waste, therefore is left as mulch to help feed the soil and conserve moisture.

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