Chelsea Green Publishing

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume I

Pages:396 pages
Book Art:Full-color illustrations and charts
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781931498791
Pub. Date August 30, 2005

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume I

Ecological Vision, Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture

Availability: In Stock

Hardcover

Available Date:
August 30, 2005

$75.00

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening--one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"These will be the benchmark works in the field for many years. The level of scholarship and meticulous footnoting is unsurpassed by anything I've seen in permaculture literature."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden

Bookwatch-
Don't expect the usual light gardening guide reading, Volume 1 of Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture packs in serious surveys of the ancient practice of forest gardening, which offers homeowners and gardeners a new way of viewing modern home landscaping and nature. Useful plants can be blended to supply daily needs, the land can be 'untamed' to return support to healthy populations of plant and animal species. Years of experience goes into Edible Forest Gardens; this first volume provides a review of the ecological and cultural foundations for recognizing forest gardening as a viable ecological alternative in modern North America. Dave Jacke runs his own ecological design firm consulting on permaculture and landscapes around the world; his co-author Eric Toensmeier founded the former Perennial Vegetable Seed Company and has worked with the New England Small Farm Institute. A highly recommended pick; especially for college-level and serious collections on permaculture and horticulture.

Plants and Gardens News--Patricia Jonas, Brooklyn Botanic Garden-
But even if you grow enough organic food to feed yourself, are you doing what's best for the ecosystem? "Many drawbacks of modern agriculture persist in organic farming and gardening," Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier write in Edible Forest Gardens, because they do not "mimic the structure of natural systems, only selected functions." Even Quail Hill Farm members are still harvesting mostly annual crops grown in plowed fields. Jacke and Toensmeier offer a radical vision for stepping out of the conceptual continuum of conventional agriculture and organic farming. They point to the productivity of temperate forests--which is twice that of agricultural land in terms of net calories--and take that as their design model. Building on Robert Hart's classic book, Forest Gardening, and incorporating permaculture practice, Jacke and Toensmeier propose a garden where many species of edible perennial plants are grown together in a design that mimics forest structure and function.

Edible Forest Gardens is an ambitious two-volume work whose influence should extend well beyond ecologists and permaculturists and, in the best of all outcomes, reach into the mainstream. Volume one lays out the "Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture," and it also includes a very useful analysis of existing forest gardens (one only 50 by 90 feet) and a tantalizing 30-page appendix of "top 100" species.

As of this writing, volume two, which focuses on practical design and maintenance considerations, is just being released, but on the evidence of volume one, I have no doubt the set will be an indispensable reference for gardeners and farmers for decades.

"When people have food gardens," the authors write, "they usually are tucked out of sight and out of view of the neighbors. They rely on external inputs of energy, nutrients, insect and disease controls, and water and are based primarily on annual plants. For some reason, growing food is considered unsightly, unseemly, possibly antisocial, and in some towns and cities, illegal! The tremendous infrastructure we have built in our cities and towns reflects a culture and horticulture of separation and isolation." The consequences of such attitudes about growing food have been disastrous, and each of us can contribute to the repair effort. Jacke and Toensmeier say that the principles of forest gardening can be applied even in a tiny urban yard or on a rooftop. Containers of edible perennials and annuals on a rooftop are not most farmers' idea of agriculture, but I grow nearly 20 percent of the authors' top 100 species and intend to look for ways to take this small start much further.

And what about chocolate and oranges? Clearly there are foods that cannot be grown in a temperate forest. "We do not expect forest gardening to replace regular gardening or the foods we know and love," the authors admit. "Just how far we can take forest gardening in supplying food for ourselves is not yet determined." Finding the answer may be the most optimistic work gardeners and farmers can do.

AWARDS

  • Winner - Choice Outstanding Academic Title - 2006
  • Runner-up - Garden Writers Association, Media Award - 2006

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Jacke

Dave Jacke has been a student of ecology and design since the 1970s, and has run his own ecological design firm—Dynamics Ecological Design Associates—since 1984. Dave is an engaging and passionate teacher of ecological design and permaculture, and a meticulous designer. He has consulted on, designed, built, and planted landscapes, homes, farms, and communities in the many parts of the United States, as well as overseas, but mainly in the Northeast. A cofounder of Land Trust at Gap Mountain in Jaffrey, NH, he homesteaded there for a number of years. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Simon's Rock College (1980) and a M.A. in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design (1984). You can learn more about his work at edibleforestgardens.com. He lives in Keene, New Hampshire.

Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. Eric is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, a Senior Fellow with Project Drawdown, and an international trainer. He presents in English and Spanish throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied useful perennial plants and their roles in agroforestry systems for over two decades, and cultivates about 300 species in his urban garden. His writing can be viewed online at perennialsolutions.org.

AUTHOR EVENTS

June 27, 2017

Eric Toensmeier at North American Agroforestry Conference

Virginia Tech, Squires Student Center, Blacksburg, VA | Eric Toensmeier
Eric Toensmeier will keynote at the 2017 North American Agroforestry Conference at Virginia Tech on June 27-29. Early registration begins February 15, 2017

See all Events by this Author

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Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening--one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

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Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening-one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

What is an edible forest garden?
An edible forest garden is a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants. Most plants regrow every year without replanting: perennials. Many species grow together: a polyculture. Each plant contributes to the success of the whole by fulfilling many functions: multipurpose. In other words, a forest garden is an edible ecosystem, a consciously designed community of mutually beneficial plants and animals intended for human food production. Edible forest gardens provide more than just a variety of foods. The seven F's apply here: food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, and "farmaceuticals," as well as fun. A beautiful, lush environment can be a conscious focus of your garden design, or a side benefit you enjoy

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When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a "permaculture paradise" replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden's needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms.

In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.

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Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as the flowers in your perennial beds and borders—no annual tilling and potting and planting. They thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season. It sounds too good to be true, but in Perennial Vegetables author and plant specialist Eric Toensmeier (Edible Forest Gardens) introduces gardeners to a world of little-known and wholly underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such "minor" crops as ground cherry and ramps (both of which have found their way onto exclusive restaurant menus) and the much sought after, anti-oxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as goji berries), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and satisfaction.

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AUTHOR VIDEOS

Eric Toensmeier Edible Forest Garden Workshop (Part 1)

Eric Toensmeier Edible Forest Garden Workshop (Part 2)

Eric Toensmeier Edible Forest Garden Workshop (Part 3)

Perennial Vegetable Gardening DVD Trailer

Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables, tours his perennial root crop.

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 2 of 4)

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 3 of 4)

Eric Toensmeier Tours His Backyard Perennial Food Garden (Part 4 of 4)

Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots

Find Out What Carbon Farming Is, and How It Can Help Tackle Climate Change

Author of 'The Carbon Farming Solution' Eric Toensmeier explains the farming techniques with the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere.

Perennial Staple Crops presentation

Perennial Staple Crops presentation

Perennial Polyculture Guidelines

Perennial Polyculture Guidelines

Regenerative Farming

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EXCERPT

"Essentially, 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. You can create a beautiful, diverse, high-yield garden that is largely self-maintained."
—From the Introduction

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