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

Permaculture Designer and Workshop Coordinator Daniel Halsey Interviewed


The Carbon Farming Solution

The Carbon Farming Solution

By Eric Toensmeier

Agriculture is rightly blamed as a major culprit of our climate crisis. But in this groundbreaking new book, Eric Toensmeier argues that agriculture—specifically, the subset of practices known as “carbon farming”—can, and should be, a linchpin of a global climate solutions platform.

Carbon farming is a suite of agricultural practices and crops that sequester carbon in the soil and in aboveground biomass. Combined with a massive reduction in fossil fuel emissions—and in concert with adaptation strategies to our changing environment— carbon farming has the potential to bring us back from the brink of disaster and return our atmosphere to the “magic number” of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Toensmeier’s book is the first to bring together these powerful strategies in one place, including in-depth analysis of the available research and, where research is lacking, a discussion of what it will take to get us there.

Carbon farming can take many forms. The simplest practices involve modifications to annual crop production. Although many of these modifications have relatively low sequestration potential, they are widely applicable and easily adopted, and thus have excellent potential to mitigate climate change if practiced on a global scale. Likewise, grazing systems such as silvopasture are easily replicable, don’t require significant changes to human diet, and—given the amount of agricultural land worldwide that is devoted to pasture—can be important strategies in the carbon farming arsenal. But by far, agroforestry practices and perennial crops present the best opportunities for sequestration. While many of these systems are challenging to establish and manage, and would require us to change our diets to new and largely unfamiliar perennial crops, they also offer huge potential that has been almost entirely ignored by climate crusaders.

Many of these carbon farming practices are already implemented globally on a scale of millions of hectares. These are not minor or marginal efforts, but win-win solutions that provide food, fodder, and feedstocks while fostering community self-reliance, creating jobs, protecting biodiversity, and repairing degraded land—all while sequestering carbon, reducing emissions, and ultimately contributing to a climate that will remain amenable to human civilization. Just as importantly to a livable future, these crops and practices can contribute to broader social goals such as women’s empowerment, food sovereignty, and climate justice.

The Carbon Farming Solution does not present a prescription for how cropland should be used and is not, first and foremost, a how-to manual, although following up on references in a given section will frequently provide such information. Instead, The Carbon Farming Solution is—at its root—a toolkit. It is the most complete collection of climate-friendly crops and practices currently available. With this toolkit, farmers, communities, and governments large and small, can successfully launch carbon farming projects with the most appropriate crops and practices to their climate, locale, and socioeconomic needs.

Toensmeier’s ultimate goal is to place carbon farming firmly in the center of the climate solutions platform, alongside clean solar and wind energy. With The Carbon Farming Solution, Toensmeier wants to change the discussion, impact policy decisions, and steer mitigation funds to the research, projects, and people around the world who envision a future where agriculture becomes the protagonist in this fraught, urgent, and unprecedented drama of our time. Citizens, farmers, and funders will be inspired to use the tools presented in this important new book to transform degraded lands around the world into productive carbon-storing landscapes.

Available in: Hardcover

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The Carbon Farming Solution

Eric Toensmeier, Hans Herren

Hardcover $75.00

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

By Joel Salatin

Foodies and environmentally minded folks often struggle to understand and articulate the fundamental differences between the farming and food systems they endorse and those promoted by Monsanto and friends. With visceral stories and humor from Salatin's half-century as a "lunatic" farmer, Salatin contrasts the differences on many levels: practical, spiritual, social, economic, ecological, political, and nutritional.

In today's conventional food-production paradigm, any farm that is open-sourced, compost-fertilized, pasture-based, portably-infrastructured, solar-driven, multi-speciated, heavily peopled, and soil-building must be operated by a lunatic. Modern, normal, reasonable farmers erect "No Trespassing" signs, deplete soil, worship annuals, apply petroleum-based chemicals, produce only one commodity, erect Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, and discourage young people from farming.

Anyone looking for ammunition to defend a more localized, solar-driven, diversified food system will find an entire arsenal in these pages. With wit and humor honed during countless hours working on the farm he loves, and then interacting with conventional naysayers, Salatin brings the land to life, farming to sacredness, and food to ministry.

Divided into four main sections, the first deals with principles to nurture the earth, an idea mainline farming has never really endorsed. The second section describes food and fiber production, including the notion that most farmers don't care about nutrient density or taste because all they want is shipability and volume. The third section, titled "Respect for Life," presents an apologetic for food sacredness and farming as a healing ministry. Only lunatics would want less machinery and pathogenicity. Oh, the ecstasy of not using drugs or paying bankers. How sad. The final section deals with promoting community, including the notion that more farmers would be a good thing.

Available in: Paperback

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The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

Joel Salatin

Paperback $25.00

Sharing the Harvest

Sharing the Harvest

By Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En

To an increasing number of American families the CSA (community supported agriculture) is the answer to the globalization of our food supply. The premise is simple: create a partnership between local farmers and nearby consumers, who become members or subscribers in support of the farm. In exchange for paying in advance--at the beginning of the growing season, when the farm needs financing--CSA members receive the freshest, healthiest produce throughout the season and keep money, jobs, and farms in their own community.

In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of a Chelsea Green classic, authors Henderson and Van En provide new insight into making CSA not only a viable economic model, but the right choice for food lovers and farmers alike. Thinking and buying local is quickly moving from a novel idea to a mainstream activity. The groundbreaking first edition helped spark a movement and, with this revised edition, Sharing the Harvest is poised to lead the way toward a revitalized agriculture.

Available in: Paperback

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Sharing the Harvest

Elizabeth Henderson, Robyn Van En, Joan Dye Gussow

Paperback $35.00

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates,  2nd Edition

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition

By Robert Kourik

Drip irrigation is the best way to help any plant flourish and survive tough times, especially short or long droughts. Pick the wrong "stuff " and you easily can feel overwhelmed. Robert Kourik's Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates clearly explains how to use less water yet increase the yields of vegetables and promote the growth and flowering of all plants--trees, shrubs, and container plants--in any climate, even where it rains irregularly.

In the tradition of the original groundbreaking book, this fully revised edition incorporates new information essential for gardeners, including how to manage limited water supplies with precision and efficiency, without the clutter of hundreds of widgets and gizmos, and the knowledge is shared in Kourik's inimitable, friendly, down-to-earth, and easy-to-understand style.

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates,reveals how to:

    • Utilize drip irrigation for everything you grow--trees, shrubs, hanging plants, container plants, and vegetable and flower gardens --and save up to 50 percent of your water compared to sprinklers.
    • Use a streamlined configuration of hardware and tubing.
    • Choose the best, sturdiest hardware that will last for decades in your home landscape and vegetable garden.
    • Pick tubing that has no emitters punched on the outside--these have a tendency to break off--and use this tubing buried beneath the surface to irrigate without losing any water to wind or evaporation.
    • Roll out a drip system in a very short period of time, avoiding tedious hours punching in emitters or adding smaller tubing to reach each plant.
    • Capture and reuse gray water and cistern water for irrigation.
    • Construct a system in which the main parts are effectively hidden or can be simply attached to an existing garden faucet.
    • Individual projects are carefully detailed and include: how anyone can construct a system by attaching it to an existing garden faucet or the main water supply, constructing larger assemblies for big gardens, irrigating all sizes of potted plants, easy ways to irrigate a vegetable garden, and how to lay out tubing for the best health of trees and shrubs.

Available in: Paperback

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Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition

Robert Kourik

Paperback $24.95