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Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Forest Gardening (or agroforestry) is a way of growing edible crops with nature doing most of the work. A forest garden imitates young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops grown in vertical layers. Species are chosen for their beneficial effects on each other, creating a healthy system that maintains its own fertility, with little need for digging, weeding or pest ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Green Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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I favor this over his other.

Crawford has a lot of experience. He actually plants and eats this stuff. He has so much land, however, that his methods fail the small-area farmer. He poo-poos folk who are frustrated by comfrey takeover -- but when you have acres at your disposal you're playing a different game. My land is a postage stamp.

Worth reading (especially for ideas of what's particularly tasty) but not great for little-forest growers.
Stephanie Crawford
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, plants
Comprehensive reference on temperate agroecology using no till methods of working with nature to create a sustainable food forest. Examples in the book are based on Martin's forest garden in Devon, UK. ...more
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very informative guide to designing a forest garden from scratch, including massive lists of recommended plants. Plenty of detail, can't wait to someday have my own forest garden, which I will plant/grow relying heavily on this book :) ...more
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agroforestry
This is currently the best, most hands-on manual for creating a forest garden. Other books are either too theoretical for people just starting out, have been superseeded or just lack all the beautiful and informative colour pictures that this one sports. Martin Crawford possibly maintains the most interesting, mature forest garden in the temperate climate zone, having been working on it for over 20 years, so his many experiences and experiments are all summarized here. His style is pretty relaxe ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you're just starting out, Creating a Forest Garden is the best book to plan your forest garden with. It simplifies the ideas behind forest gardening and is based on the author's 15+ years of hands-on experiences in his own forest garden.

I docked a star because so much of the book is species lists, which are problematic for beginners. First, they get folks too excited! Second, each species' use is very location-specific, so the information in the book might not be accurate.

Since we've been exp
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

A very interesting book, that seemed to go into enough depth to be of use to both a beginner and the more experienced gardener. It has lots of detail on individual plants and the tables of plants and information such as month of use etc will be invaluable for reference.
Emily Culver
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read all of the text and many of the plant descriptions. Overall I feel like there is so much valuable knowledge and instruction included in this book, and the thorough plant descriptions are so useful. It will be a year or two before we start on our land, so I'm sure I'll be coming back to it time and time again. I appreciate that, at least for me, a lot of the plants are growing all around my neighborhood, showing how they thrive in the PNW conditions. After reading about them, as I walked t ...more
Sep 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book because I wanted to create my own forest garden on a piece of land that I inherited, and after reading it, it feels doable and I'm really excited! My only problem was that the book is mainly UK-focused and I live in Eastern Europe, so the climate here is different, but I feel like I will be able to adjust most of the things. What matters most is the approach and that is universal for forest gardens. A large part of the book is like an encyclopedia of plants, so I know that I w ...more
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, indispensable guide to creating a forest garden, with full page lists of species, spacings, attributes.
Well set out and easy to follow. I would not design a food forest without this book
Christina Baehr
Aug 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Extremely detailed and helpful, definitely one to have on your shelf if you are inclined towards this kind of gardening. This isn’t a coffee table book, it’s a practical guide and a hefty reference book.
Remi van Beekum
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Can't wait to start planting trees! ...more
Mitja Senekovic
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you want to create your own forest garden then this is essential reading. With this book, I've upgraded my knowledge of horticulture. ...more
Pupak Haghighi
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
A good guide to start a forest garden project.
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive with detailed clear advice & guidance, thought this would be a great reference book…
I got this through ILL, hoping to get some idea of what forest gardening actually was, how it compared to the vague idea I got of the "permaculture" concept from perusing Dave Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, and what the state of the art was at the moment. I was also thinking of using it to inform a feasibility study assignment for a class I didn't end up taking, regarding a potential garden at Lawrence's Bjorklunden 'campus.' I don't have time to actually ...more
North Devon
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We are planning a forest garden, and had already read and enjoyed Patrick Whitefield's How To Make A Forest Garden.

We then went to visit Martin Crawford's site and were blown away by seeing the reality of a Forest Garden in full production. We bought a copy of Martin's book from him after the tour, and barely a week has gone by in the year or so since purchase, that we haven't referred to it - it is truly a bible of Forest Gardening, an immense reference book to be picked up again and again.

We h
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
What I love about this book is it's accessibility and warmth. I'm new to permaculture and forest gardening and got this book as a birthday present from my dad.
I just love all the descriptions of the plants, trees and shrubs.I also learning about how to plant various shrubs and fruit trees, Working on design using permaculture principles, learning about grafting, perennial ground cover, use of windbreaks(helpful as it's a tad windy where I live)
I like to dip into this book, a lot and use it as a
A comprehensive encyclopedia on designing and growing a forest garden...A garden that resembles a woodland and is peopled with edible plants (for the most part not vegetables) shrubs, and trees, as well as plants that provide soap, ink, basket weaving materials, dye, etc.

Has, as far as I can see, every thing you'd need to know to set up this sort of garden, including discussions of planning for wind, sun, shade, space, nitrogen and potassium levels required or output by different plants, etc.

Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it

This is cutting edge.
The ideas contained herein, which will become increasingly popular in coming years are basically the theory for organic, productive ecological garden design and management.
They are not new but are the brainchild of Robert Hart, who gardened this way from the 1970's onward in Shropshire, the English Midlands, with the additional work of Ken Fern amongst others.
There aren't many books currently available on this subject, which raises this to the status of core text
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From an English gardener, so the extensive reference section on plants is not much help. I LOVE this idea and want to know MORE, MORE, MORE about it! We should plant native plants that are happy and tough and create a garden that essentially takes care of itself. I'd like to see a tidier version though. ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: garden
Purchased this book after I borrowed a library copy. I really loved the books layout style. Clear to understand. Lots of useful information. Great resource of how one would go about creating your very won forest garden.

I certainly hope to get a nice plot of land some time in the future. This book will be the accompanying the process.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a resource! Hopefully someday I'll actually have the space to revisit this book and put some of the advice to use. I still really enjoyed reading about the design elements of intentional forestry for food production and all of the notes on plants familiar and obscure. There are many new things I'll be on the lookout for at the farmers markets. ...more
Marijan Šiško
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I have read on the subject so far. Comprehensive, concrete and down-to-earth. Everything you need to know in order to create your own food forest. At least in UK, although it's fairly applicable to other parts of Europe. ...more
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Crawford is in the temperate climate of the UK so some of plant species choices wouldn't work for me here in MN. But still, this is a very readable and thorough look at establishing and maintaining a forest garden. ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While we unfortunately don't have the space for a forest garden, this was very informative and very interesting, with a ton of awesome pictures. Found a few new plants to try out anyways, and it's always nice to dream a bit... ...more
A very good introduction to forest gardening; however, it is a UK-based book, so the plant recommendations that take up a lot of the book do not work for me in SD. Lots of good information, though.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Always exciting to find a gardening book relevant to your climate. Lots of pictures and plant descriptions and tables for useful plants.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Fabulous book but unfortunately for written for the UK. Very informative and easy to understand.
The best "to the point" and step by step books about creating your own foodforest in colder climate ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I'm in the middle of making my own "Forest Garden", and Martin is a perfect guide - knowledgeable, authentic, interesting. And the pictures are very helpful. ...more
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