Forest garden with over 500 edible plants requires only a few hours of work monthly
Have you ever wondered why some plants thrive better untended in forests than in many human-owned gardens?
No one caters to the fruit trees or prunes the wild vegetable shrubs every week. No one bothers about watering them, covering them with mulch, manuring, or controlling pests. Absolutely no amount of human work goes into maintaining these wild plants, yet they flourish and bloom better than our garden plants ever could if we didn’t spend several hours each day maintaining them.
It’s simple. We may be going about modern farming the wrong way. Forest diversity provides plants with resilience against adverse climate conditions and environmental factors that affect the growth of plants . It plays a major role in maintaining a productive ecosystem with natural stability. Our monoculture approach is increasingly rendering our soils unfit for agricultural practices after a few years. Flatly planting the same variety of crops in one garden will deplete the soil of certain essential nutrients and cause an excess of other compounds that may affect growth and yield.
Also, the lack of diversity makes plants more vulnerable to disease attack. Crop rotation is one of the best practices to prevent this depletion and give the soil a chance to replenish the necessary nutrients. However, a lot of commercial farmers find it difficult to keep up with the inconsistency in produce.
Forest gardens are a man-made solution to the endless sea of problems created by monoculture. They are designed to mimic natural ecosystems, complete with dozens of varieties and species of plants to provide diversity and improve plant health and yield .
A renowned pioneer in forest gardening is Martin Crawford, a British author who is the founder and director of the Agroforestry Research Trust, an agroforestry non-profit based in the UK. According to Crawford, monoculture is slowly affecting the Earth’s soil and depleting its nutrients.
“What we think of as normal, in terms of food production is actually not normal at all. Annual plants are very rare in nature, yet most of our agricultural fields are filled with annual plants. It’s not normal. What’s normal is a more forested or semi-forested system,” he said video for National Geographic .
Mimicking natural ecosystems
In 1994, Crawford began growing his extensive forest garden with countless stems and seeds from dozens of plants and consistently added more varieties as the years wore on…
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