Back to topics

Design Main Methods

  • Use of Natural Forces : Light, Water, Wind, Ground
  • Application of Concepts or a Master Pattern : Layers, Succession, Niche, Guilds, Soil building, Flows(Water, Nutrient), Zones, Edges
  • Connecting characteristics of components by listing
  • Adopting lessons learnt from nature
  • Extending Flow Diagrams
  • Expanding on direct observations of a site
  • Selection of options or pathways based on decisions
  • Following map overlays
  • Assessing the results of random assemblies
  • Zoning of information and ethics

Application of Concepts or a Master Pattern : Layers, Succession, Niche, Guilds, Soil building, Flows(Water, Nutrient), Zones, Edges

Basics of edible forests pattern language
-Patterns at the landscape scale
external image 2.8a.jpg
  1. Productive landscape mosaic: all kinds of shapes and sizes of ecosystems
  2. Islands and corridors: biologic islands are richer when connected with each other with distinguish strip corridors (at least 12m large) or line corridors
-Patterns at the site scale
  1. Patterns that arise: understanding patterns of soils, microclimate, habitats, qualities and forces is the basis for holistic understanding and design
  2. Habitat diversity: varied topography, wetness, soil types, microclimates, vegetation structure or modification of the site offer more opportunities for diverse self-sustaining species assemblies
  3. Site repair: garden firstly places that they are in need to
  4. Outdoor living rooms: best functioning gardens are the one lived in most
  5. Zones and sectors: based on pattern of circulation, land use intensity, frequency of use and radial energies of the landscape
  6. Zones of water use
-Patterns of the garden
  1. Dynamic patches: structure and manage the garden as a set of overlapping, interconnected and dynamic patches, each with each own influences, conditions, disturbance regime and successional process
  2. Mandalas: beauty, function and meaning in small geometric spaces
  3. Temporary shrublands: open canopies orchards (40-99% coverage, shrubs at equal or less distances than their mature canopy radius) with useful ground cover and interplant fruit or nut trees for low maintenance
  4. Minithickets: 100% canopy coverage in star shaped formation to prevent trees invasion (stops succession) but let access for harvest
  5. Oldfield mosaics: trees shrubs and herbs, woody plants, shrubs and pioneer trees in clumps or masses to strengthen against bacteria dominated soils of annual and perennial herbs
  6. Woodland gardens: 40 to 99% mature canopy coverage using tight clumps with one or different species, interdistances, sizes
  7. Mature forest forest gardens from scratch: 100% mature canopy coverage of productive and usefull species, fruits and nuts of different ages, vines and shade tolerant understory
  8. Gaps and clearings: use small gaps distance smaller than 2x trees height or bigger clearings to create shadows and sun planting schemes
  9. Forest garden in existing woods: assess existing structures and fill with new niches
  10. Shifting mosaic forest gardens: patches of different successional stage growing to maturity and cycle back to the beginning (gap/clearing/bare soil-oldfield perennial and annual vegetables-oldfield mosaic-temporary shrubland-woodland garden-mature forest forest garden)
  11. Copses: dense coppicing shrubs and trees in rotation (5 to 25 years) with usefull herbaceous understory
  12. Forest edges
  13. Microforest gardens
  14. Suburban landscape mimic: shift typical suburban patterns to forest garden with mandalas, ground cover carpets, edible perennial borders, flower petal , mulch circles around trees, mini thickets, berms.
-Patterns in the garden
  1. Pits and mounds: to diverse habitat in herbaceous layer, improve tree and shrubs growth and increase planting surface
  2. Definite pathways: healthy living soil
  3. Strategic materials depot
  4. Paths and nodes: based on access and interconnections of related points
  5. Rootlike path geometries: radial or branching rhizomatus patterns and networks
  6. Keyhole beds
-Patterns management
external image 1-s2.0-S0378112799000948-gr5.jpg
  1. Patch disturbance and regeneration: define patches, design scenario of disturbance and immediate regeneration with revegetation to capture the released nutriments after disturbance (they leach after 2 years in general)
  2. Instant succesions: to manage the succession path to an 10/25 year horizon we must manage the initial flora by disturbance and competitive exlusion by densly planting patches or a whole area at once
  3. Nuclei that merge: plant expansive perennial that propagate vegetatively or by seed and the use it as nursery, to diminish plant cost and watering, test combinations, redesign and fill the available space
  4. Relay plantings: plan as a series of steps of soil and envirinement goals, startwith prolific biomass plants, nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators and some edibles to achieve, later more shaded, rich, humusy
  5. Disturbance and maintenance regimes: plan thinking the future of the garden patches and as a whole (in early succession patches, disturbance is more frequent and not intense while in later stages disturbance is stronger but less frequent)
-Define structural goals to select organisms and species
  1. Diversity of lifeforms and varieties of each
  2. Extraordinary edibles everywhere
  3. Gourmet decomposers
  4. Three layer minimum
  5. Lumpy texture: vary patterns per layer
  6. Layers of harvest
  7. Staggered and clustered harvests: plan the timing and quantity of harvest
  8. Nectaries always flowering: select nectary plants for all year long
  9. Native species first
-Specis placement pattern in the biger pattern of the garden
  1. Polyculture patches: 2 to 7 species in every patch
  2. Pockets of production monocultures
  3. Flower petal shaped bed patterns
  4. Cluster planting with microbial friends
  5. Cross pollination clusters ( maxi distance 15 to 30m for rich insect environment but at least one other plant in between to confuse pests)
  6. Ground cover carpets
  7. Drifts, clumps ans scatters: let plants choose the pattern
  8. Functional plants throughtout: mulch plants, nitrogen fixers, insectary plants and dynamic accumulators
  9. Expansive plant containers: barriers, other plants, water...
-Garden elements
  1. Living soil: improve soil structure, soil food webs and plant helpers by preventing soil compaction, adding organic matter for both nutrients and water air properties, inoculate soil organismes, compost and leaf mold and self renewing fertility with plants
  2. Habitat elements: attract beneficial wildlife
  3. Fruitfool footpaths
  4. Mulch:keep in the surface leaves, hay, straw, woody materials, manure, compost
  5. Dead wood

Edible forest gardens volume 2