About the project
The aim of a forest garden is to grow food and other useful plants and trees in a woodland setting. It is set in 2 acres of council owned land at the edge of Prestwich Clough. The area was once part of the existing allotments and has been left to nature for many years.
We are following Permaculture principles in all that we do and have been awarded “Land Centre” status by the Permaculture Association as a Centre of Excellence demonstrating Permaculture in action.
The advantages of growing food this way are:
- Inputs to the garden are minimal; a woodland essentially creates its own fertility.
- There is a wide variety of planting, increasing bio-diversity and wildlife.
- It’s a beautiful place to spend time.
- Fruit, herbs and perennial vegetables are available for anyone in the local community to make use of.
- It’s low maintenance. We’re not trying to exclude weeds, but instead keep the more invasive ones under control.
The idea is to mimic a young woodland by planting the 7 layers found in a woodland with edible and useful plants. These layers are:
- Canopy trees- the existing trees surrounding the garden including, oak, ash, sycamore etc.,
- The lower trees – typically apple, pear, plum and other fruit trees
- The shrub level fruit bushes such as red and black currant, gooseberry, raspberry
- The herbaceous level such as mint, comfrey, herbs and flowers
- The ground cover- strawberries, sorrel, poached egg plant etc.
- Underground- fungi
- Root crops and climbers