When planting a new garden this spring, consider establishing a ‘food forest’ in your yard. A food forest is a garden that is carefully designed using a variety of plants, mainly multi-purpose and food-producing perennials adapted to the region’s climate. It typically consists of six to seven layers of plants that maximize growing potential and add fullness to the garden.
The selection of plants, such as tall fruit trees, shrubs that produce berries, and ground cover that protects the soil, create a “microclimate” within the garden. Early and late season blooming plants add beauty and support pollinators.
Just because it’s called a food forest, doesn’t mean it has to be a large-scale endeavor — it can be adapted to flourish on a residential-scale property. When thoughtfully planned, this diverse planting system mimics the patterns found in nature, meaning that a food forest has the potential to become a nearly self-sustaining, low maintenance system over time.
For gardening ideas, check out Grow Green which now includes several new food forest inspired designs that can provide you with lush, productive, and dynamic green spaces to enjoy. Grow Green is Metro Vancouver’s free online gardening resource developed in partnership with UBC Botanical Garden. The website offers over a hundred free garden designs and a database of more than 350 non-invasive plants suited to flourish in the Metro Vancouver region.