No-Dig, Edible Forest Garden
What if I told you guavas, persimmons and all manor of tropical flavours can be grown outdoors in a Uk garden? Well this is a work in progress, Semi-Edible Forest Garden currently being created in Newquay using a no-dig method.The garden features a combination of exotic edibles as well as others chosen solely for aesthetics, designed using the permaculture principle of forest gardening. Feature plants include Ugni molinae the Chilean guava, Amelanchier ‘Prince William’ a dwarf Amelanchier that produces edible fruits and Diospyros kaki the Persimmon!
The client wanted help to redesign a neglected section of their garden, enjoyed growing food and wanted to create something ecological. We decided on an Edible Forest Garden and that we would use a No-Dig method. The garden is coastal and the soil is clay, so plants had to be tolerant of coastal conditions and clayey soil. The client wanted to be able to walk into mini food forest at the end of their garden and pick fruits, enjoy the nature and wanted something that wouldn't be too much maintenance.
Plant categories for an Edible Forest Garden were established such as; canopy layer, herbaceous layer and shrub layer and plants were selected to to fit each of these categories. Trees such as; Plum 'Jubilee' and Diospyros kaki (the Persimmon) were planted to act as the 'tree layer' where as plants such as 'Ugni molinae and 'Amelanchier ‘Prince William’ acted as the shrubs. Strawberries and sweet woodruff provided groundcover and Matteuccia struthiopteris, the ostrich fern is included in the herbaceous layer. By categorising plants into these categories and planting them accordingly, we aim for the Edible Forest Garden to function similarly to a naturally occurring ecosystem. To make use of vertical growing space, thrive with biodiversity and to utilise beneficial relationships between plants.