Download our free Illawarra Edible Garden Guide!

A Forest of Food

“Backyard, small acreage forest gardening is the gardening method of the future for the future” - Jade Woodhouse

Food forests are amazing places. They’re places of incredible diversity, with an abundance of food all year round from shrubs, ground covers, and fruit trees.

They produce much more food than open orchards or monocultures, where only one type of plant is grown, and are much more sustainable – and fun! They’re earth friendly, people friendly, and just buzz with life. They’re habitat for creatures from the tiniest microbes in the soil, to birds nesting in the trees. They’re places that lift the spirit. And they’re created right in your backyard, or local community garden.

At Happy Earth, we’re creating a forest of food on our suburban block. You don’t even need that much room – we’ve seen amazing mini food forests created by people in tiny spaces in courtyards in retirement villages and apartment blocks.

The design for our place is all about creating an abundant food forest. Important elements of the design are:

  • Layering different plants – we’ll have over 80 different species of fruit trees, shrubs, vines and edible groundcovers
  • Planting support plants, which provide soil fertility, protection and mulch
  • Maximising winter sunlight and summer shade by strategically planting deciduous and evergreen trees
  • Replacing invasive grasses like kikuyu with non invasive soil and edible improving ground covers
  • Integrating animals by having chickens, and encouraging wildlife through vegetation, and ponds
  • Focusing on building the soil to maximise the health of the fruit trees (and us!) and minimise time involved in managing pest and diseases. Good soils store and retain much more water which means less watering.
  • Creating swales to catch and divert water to water loving fruit trees and shrubs
  • Creating spaces to enjoy the food forest, socialise and indulge in the bountiful harvests!