An Edible Forest Garden is a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants.
Forest gardens are
- Perennial, as most plants regrow without replanting;
- A Polyculture, as many species grow together;
- Multipurpose, as each plant contributes to the success of the whole by fulfilling many functions.
Forest Ecosystem Mimicry
The aim of an EFG designer is to garden like a forest, thus to mimic forest ecosystems. Forest gardeners use the forest as a design metaphor, to model structure and function while adapting the design to meet human needs.
The structure of a forest may be defined by nine layers: Tall Tree, Low Tree, Shrub, Herb, Ground, Vine, Topsoil, Subsoil, and Substratum. To fully grasping the multitude of ecosystem interrelationships in a forest or forest garden is perhaps impossible.
The text and image on this page was drawn from the work of Dave Jacke & Eric Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardens.