How to Prepare for the Backyard Forest Garden
By Louis Nguyen
Author bio: Louis Nguyen is an article writer. After a long time with the COVID-19 epidemic, he spent time researching and setting up his small garden.
Forest gardens are places full of life, providing not only food for humans but also habitats for various plant and microorganism species. The place of carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and natural soil building. And a host of other benefits for which you take a page from Mother Nature's book. Forest gardens are also the most stable and least time-consuming ecosystems to care for. The food harvested from the forest garden will have the most amazing taste you have ever tasted.
If you are preparing to set up your back garden to grow food, don't ignore the option of a forest garden. This article will provide you with basic knowledge to help you prepare for the backyard forest garden.
Basic infrastructure preparation and planning
The first step of the backyard garden design process is to plan the basic infrastructure design for the garden. The most basic infrastructure of a forest garden is the water, the aisle, and the structure.
Water is the key to the success of a forest garden. Plants cannot grow without water. Depending on the area of the forest garden, you choose the best location for the water tank and the watering system. Besides, it is also necessary to arrange more natural rainwater tanks. to help you save water and be convenient with water in the garden.
Continue to arrange paths around the garden to help you move. The aisle design needs to be wide enough for you to use wheelbarrows and other tools. because you will need to use them during pruning, cleaning, and harvesting.
Consider fencing around the garden for protection from harmful animals. You may also want to create a more resting area in the park—a storage area for garden tools or compost area, etc
Make a master list of plants in the backyard forest garden.
The forest garden system will have 7 different canopy layers intercropped. To create a unified and complementary system.
- The top layer is called the canopy layer or the protective layer. This layer has the function of absorbing water into the soil. It is a layer of wind and storm cover for the trees inside.
- Next is the low tree layer of fruit trees of medium height, such as apples, pears, etc.
- The shrub layer is the berry plants around the path or under the canopy of large trees.
- The herbaceous classes are vegetables and herbs.
- The ground cover retains moisture and prevents weeds. This ground cover also works to improve the soil.
The layer of climbing plants such as beans, grapes, kiwi, etc., will rely on high plants to grow.
Review what plants you want to plant and incorporate them into the 7-story canopy structure of the forest garden. Then, arrange the mutual plants that interact with each other to form diverse groups of plants.
You will need to calculate which tree will be useful to which tree. Which plant handles attracting beneficial insects? Which plant handles repelling harmful insects? to help the garden resist pests and insects and grow. Besides, supporting plants also help to improve the taste of the tree.
Plants that repel insects, such as rosemary, wormwood, a few fever chrysanthemums, and anemones. When planted around the garden will help spread the scent throughout the garden. Make the insect uncomfortable and away so it doesn't sting you and harm the vegetables. The dry lotus plant helps to repel night moths and aphids very well.
Beneficial plants such as dandelion and valerian help nourish natural enemies. Their stems and leaves make very good fertilizers. Horseradish will attract snails and worms, so they don't eat the vegetables and leaves of the garden, etc.
Plant species that support each other include:
Group 1: maize, legumes, pumpkins, cucumbers, potatoes, beets, cabbage.
Group 2: asparagus, tomato, mint, parsley.
Group 3: Lettuce, cabbage, onion, garlic, wild chrysanthemum, cucumber, potato
There will not be a fixed combination applied to the forest garden. Your job is to learn and experiment to choose the system that best suits your garden conditions.
Examples of mutualism - mutual support in agriculture:
Create a patch design for your backyard forest garden.
In this step, you will determine the areas and spacing of plants in your woodland garden.
Set up a canopy covering the garden. to block wind and frost and protect weaker plants inside. Besides, this floor also helps to reduce noise and dust in houses in urban areas. When setting, consider the mature size of this tree class to calculate the appropriate division area.
The next important job is to locate the low tree layer. This is the backbone of the garden. Their location will help determine the location of other tree species. You should estimate the size when the tree is mature, then place them about a diameter apart.
Place smaller trees and shrubs in the gaps between the trees. Next is the arrangement of the lower layers of vegetables and herbs. You can cultivate high soil to plant the herbaceous classes. It is also possible to create raised gardens with a raised garden bed or a metal raised garden bed. to help you divide groups of plants together, helping them grow at their best.
Finally, the ground cover. You can plant them in the remaining soil areas in the garden. When the canopy layer and lower layer trees have matured, you can start more layers of vines. So you have completed the design of the backyard forest garden. Start preparing the soil and planting trees.
Prepare the soil and plant the trees
Start the process of improving and nourishing the soil with legumes. They are a source of soil nutrients, creating humus and porosity. They also create a favorable environment for microorganisms in the soil to grow. You also compost kitchen waste and manure to prepare more nutrients for the soil.
Proceed to plant trees as per the process you have designed before. You need to increase the nutrients in the soil by adding manure, limestone, rock dust, ash, and phosphorus in that order.
Besides planting, pruning is also an important job in planting forest gardens. This helps to create more light for the plants below to grow. It also helps to add organic matter to the soil.
The first time, you should provide adequate water for the plants to grow. When the garden ecosystem establishes, you can reduce the watering process and let the ecosystem run on its own.