Chelsea Green Publishing

Integrated Forest Gardening

Pages:320 pages
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584975
Pub. Date August 05, 2014

Integrated Forest Gardening

The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
August 05, 2014


Permaculture is a movement that is coming into its own, and the concept of creating plant guilds in permaculture is at the forefront of every farmer’s and gardener’s practice. One of the essential practices of permaculture is to develop perennial agricultural systems that thrive over several decades without expensive and harmful inputs: perennial plant guilds, food forests, agroforestry, and mixed animal and woody species polycultures.

The massive degradation of conventional agriculture and the environmental havoc it creates has never been as all pervasive in terms of scale, so it has become a global necessity to further the understanding of a comprehensive design and planning system such as permaculture that works with nature, not against it. The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants–beneficial groupings of plants that share functions in order to bring health and stability to a plant regime and create an abundant yield for our utilization. In other words, it is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem. But it goes beyond integration. A guild is a metaphor for all walks of life, most importantly a group of people working together to craft works of balance, beauty, and utility.

This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations. Included is information on:

•    What we can observe about natural plant guilds in the wild and the importance of observation;
•    Detailed research on the structure of plant guilds, and a portrait of an oak tree (a guild unto itself);
•    Animal interactions with plant guilds;
•    Steps to guild design, construction, and dynamics: from assessment to design to implementation;
•    Fifteen detailed plant guilds, five each from the three authors based on their unique perspectives;
•    Guild project management: budgets, implementation, management, and maintenance.

Readers of any scale will benefit from this book, from permaculture designers and professional growers, to backyard growers new to the concept of permaculture. Books on permaculture cover this topic, but never in enough depth to be replicable in a serious way. Finally, it’s here!


"Integrated Forest Gardening is an evolution from Bill Mollison’s original teachings, built upon by countless designs and a straightforward process. Both the seasoned and new designer can use this work to confidently approach a project, weaving land, client, and vision into an abundant and joyful reality.”--Javan K. Bernakevitch, Educator and Agroecology Designer

Publishers Weekly-

"Weiseman, Halsey, and Ruddock define integrated forest gardening as the 'integration of all aspects of a land base into the development of healthy food, medicinal, and utility landscapes,' giving equal importance to the built environment, the waste stream, animals, plants, and stones. Drawing on their extensive design, consultation, and teaching experience, these three Midwestern permaculturalists discuss plant guilds ('a beneficial grouping of plants that support one another in all their many functions') and their design, optimal species integration, and plant propagation; profile four trees, which are the centerpieces of polycultures; outline the process of implementing a forest-garden design; and detail fifteen plant-guild case studies across hardiness zones 3–9, illustrated with helpful anecdotes. This passionate and practical manual gives landscapers, landscape architects, and householders enough in-depth information and methodology to begin their own experiments with an emerging, ecologically sensitive alternative to conventional horticulture.”

"Reading Integrated Forest Gardening was like taking a walk through a well-orchestrated whole systems design! As a plant enthusiast and systems thinker this book spoke my language. It is rare to find in one book such depth of user-friendly detail. It demystifies the mythical nature of the “Forest Garden’’ and brings its strategies to easy application. This book is a must for all plant lovers."--Jude Hobbs, Cascadia Permaculture

"Integrated Forest Gardening fills a major gap in the canon of permaculture books, giving us, at last, a detailed guide to guild and polyculture design. No longer is this subject mysterious and daunting; in this book we now have specific instructions for designing and installing multi-species plant groups. Chapter 7, which describes 15 guilds and their plant members, is a golden nugget worth the price of the book alone. This is an essential book for all food foresters and ecological designers."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

"This rich feast of nature love by three experienced and working permaculture designers pushes into the hard task of creating recombinant ecosystems, a field where few have gone before. The authors expose the logic and lore of working guilds, the symbiotic plant assemblies of productive landscapes. Full of design insight into the needs and opportunities of both plants and the people who live with them, Integrated Forest Gardening offers a panoply of example guilds, work procedures, and luscious images to inspire and guide the perennial food gardener onto a path of ecological renewal.”--Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine

"For the design work we do at Midwest Permaculture, when we need experienced advice on planting systems we turn to the three gentlemen who collaborated on this impressive work. The book is thorough, accessible, and timely. So wish we had this insightful compilation when we first started. It’s a gem!"--Bill and Becky Wilson, Midwest Permaculture

“This is an intimate insight into the world of plant guilds. The authors have taken the broad land based overview and zoom the reader into the micro detail of these plant polycultures. Details of root structure, seeding patterns, and relationships with the surrounding environment have been carefully observed and are well laid out in the plant guild lists. This book is an important contribution to every permaculture designer’s library and will appeal to all those wishing to grow sustainable polycultures whether broadscale or in the garden.”--Ben Law, author The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing

"We stand at a new threshold. The history of food production has tended ever more narrowly towards monoculture, whereas a sustainable future can only be based on polyculture. But we're desperately short of knowledge on polycultures. While mainstream research still chases the chimera of fossil-fueled monoculture, a small band of visionaries is working to develop the knowledge we need to carry us forward to the future. Just such are the authors of this book and the wisdom it contains is part of that movement."--Patrick Whitefield, permaculture teacher and author of The Earth Care Manual

Integrated Forest Gardening makes the process of creating complex agroecosystems more understandable and achievable. It is a fine guide to designing forest garden and polycultural systems using Permaculture principles.”--Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden


Wayne Weiseman

Wayne Weiseman is certified by the Permaculture Institute of Australia and the Worldwide Permaculture Network as an instructor of the Permaculture Design Certificate Course. He is the director of Kinstone Academy of Applied Permaculture (KAAP) in Fountain City, Wisconsin, the Permaculture Project LLC, and the Permaculture Design-Build Collaborative LLC, full-service, international consulting and educational businesses promoting the ideas of eco-agriculture, renewable energy resources, and eco-construction methods. For many years he managed a land-based, self-reliant community project combining organic crop/food production, ecologically built shelters, renewable energy, and appropriate technologies.

Daniel Halsey

Daniel Halsey is a certified permaculture designer and teacher for the Permaculture Research Institute. Certified by the Permaculture Research Institute, Daniel travels nationally and internationally teaching permaculture and ecological design to permaculture design certification students, homesteaders, and landscape designers.

Daniel and his wife Ginny manage self-sustaining forest gardens of fruiting trees, shrubs and nut crops at SouthWoods Forest Gardens, a permaculture design, demonstration, and educational site located on a twenty-five-acre wetland savannah in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Bryce Ruddock

Bryce Ruddock is certified as an instructor of permaculture teaching by the Permaculture Institute USA and Cascadia Permaculture Institute since 2010. He authored the Plant Guilds e-book, a training manual used in classes by Midwest Permaculture. His interest in perennial polycultures began in 1980. Since 1984 Bryce and his partner, Debby, have been implementing permaculture-based polyculture designs at their sixth of an acre urban home site in southeastern Wisconsin, where they have transformed an average suburban yard into a thriving food and medicinals food forest.


January 21, 2016

Dan Halsey at Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Winter Conference

NPSA Conference, Aberdeen, SD | Daniel Halsey
Dan will teach two workshops based on his book, Integrated Forest Gardening, at the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Conference on January 21-23 in Aberdeen, SD. Books will be available for sale and signing.

See all Events by this Author


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Permaculture Designer and Workshop Coordinator Daniel Halsey Interviewed

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The Flower Farmer

The Flower Farmer

By Lynn Byczynski

The domestic cut flower business has experienced a renaissance in the past decade, thanks in large part to the first edition of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, which helped thousands of small growers start successful businesses. This newly expanded and thoroughly revised edition will be equally as influential for novices and experienced growers alike.

With the cut flower business growing at record rates, demand is at all time highs, challenging growers to take advantage of new techniques to prolong the harvest. New sections on utilizing greenhouses, recommendations for flower cultivars, and post harvest handling growers throughout all of North America will help improve their bottom line. Also updated is the acclaimed resource directory, complete with sources of seeds, plants and supplies, and expert information on organic production under the National Organic Program.

For the beginner and backyard gardener, there is an extensive section on the basics—variety selection, soil preparation, planting, cultivation, harvest, and floral design. For the commercial grower, The Flower Farmer includes information about larger-scale production, plus advice about selling to florists, wholesalers, supermarkets, brides, at farmers markets, and more. Also includes revised profiles of successful growers offering behind-the-scenes insight into the operation of some of the cutting edge flower farmers in the country.

Because of the extensive revisions and enhanced content, this new edition of The Flower Farmer is essential reading for those already in the flower business, as well as those who dream of growing flowers for enjoyment or profit.

Available in: Paperback

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Lynn Byczynski, Robin Wimbiscus

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The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook

By Richard Wiswall

Contrary to popular belief, a good living can be made on an organic farm. What’s required is farming smarter, not harder.

In The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall shares advice on how to make your vegetable production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. From his twenty-seven years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming; because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses.

In this comprehensive business kit, Wiswall covers:

  • Step-by-step procedures to make your crop production more efficient
  • Advice on managing employees, farm operations, and office systems
  • Novel marketing strategies
  • What to do with your profits: business spending, investing, and planning for retirement

A companion CD offers valuable business tools, including easy-to-use spreadsheets for projecting cash flow, a payroll calculator, comprehensive crop budgets for forty different crops, and tax planners.

Available in: Paperback

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The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook

Richard Wiswall

Paperback $34.95

Food Not Lawns

Food Not Lawns

By Heather Flores

Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution—it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens."

But Food Not Lawns doesn't begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Plant "guerilla gardens" in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces.

Flores cares passionately about the damaged state of our environment and the ills of our throwaway society. In Food Not Lawns, she shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.

Available in: Paperback

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Heather Flores, Toby Hemenway

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Farming the Woods

Farming the Woods

By Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel

In the eyes of many people, the practices of forestry and farming are mutually exclusive, because in the modern world, agriculture involves open fields, straight rows, and machinery to grow crops, while forests are primarily reserved for timber and firewood harvesting. Farming the Woods invites a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non-timber products. While this concept of “forest farming” may seem like an obscure practice, history indicates that much of humanity lived and sustained itself from tree-based systems in the past; only recently have people traded the forest for the field.  The good news is that this is not an either-or scenario; forest farms can be most productive in places where the plow is not: on steep slopes, and in shallow soils. It is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes more and more important for farmers.

Many already know that daily indulgences we take for granted such as coffee, chocolate, and many tropical fruits, all originate in forest ecosystems. But few know that such abundance is also available in the cool temperate forests of North America. Farming the Woods is the first in-depth guide for farmers and gardeners who have access to an established woodland and are looking for productive ways to manage it. Authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel describe this process as "productive conservation," guided by the processes and relationships found in natural forest ecosystems. 

Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, ornamental ferns, and more. Comprehensive information is also offered on historical perspectives of forest farming; mimicking the forest in a changing climate; cultivation of medicinal crops; creating a forest nursery; harvesting and utilizing wood products; the role of animals in the forest farm; and how to design and manage your forest farm once it's set up. This book is a must-read for farmers and gardeners interested in incorporating aspects of agroforestry, permaculture, forest gardening, and sustainable woodlot management into the concept of a whole-farm organism. 

Available in: Paperback

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Ken Mudge, Steve Gabriel, John F. Munsell

Paperback $39.95