Food forestry and forest gardening

Designing and establishing a temperate climate food forest in rural North Canterbury, New Zealand.

Using permaculture principals to work with and mimic nature, we are guiding natural processes and directing the outcome with human intent. By selecting practical plants that serve multiple functions we build diversity in all layers of the biological system.

This approach guides natural processes towards a productive ecosystem. By introducing human knowledge and planning we can encourage and accelerate the growth and development leading to beautiful, abundant and nutritious habitats.

  • Attractive, productive ecosystems

    Attractive, productive ecosystems

  • Exploding with flavour and colour

    Exploding with flavour and colour

  • Natives and exotics. Something for everyone

    Natives and exotics. Something for everyone

  • Visit, explore and learn

    Visit, explore and learn

  • Pattern based function stacking

    Pattern based function stacking

  • Book your relaxing stay today

    Book your relaxing stay today


Boosting plant and ecosystem health with compost tea

Boosting plant and ecosystem health with compost tea

Fertigating is the practice of irrigating and fertilising simultaneously. To achieve this we brew liquid compost 'tea' using an assortment of fresh and decaying plant material. Learn how to easily make, brew and deliver compost tea or other liquid fertiliser. You can use all sorts of organic, nutrient rich, biodegradable substance.

The breakthrough come with the venturi mixer which allows for easy distribution of the heavy, smelly liquid.
Nitrogen fixing plant species suited to temperate climate such as North Canterbury New Zealand

Nitrogen fixing plant species suited to temperate climate such as North Canterbury New Zealand

Nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth. Certain plants have a useful ability to capture nitrogen from the atmosphere. This is often achieved through symbiotic relationship with fungi in the root zone. Being able access unlimited nitrogen allows these plants to grow quickly while also making some available to surrounding plants. The practical reality is that including nitrogen fixing plants of various shapes and sizes amongst other productive plantings improves overall health, vigour and fertility,
Tree growth on terraces

Tree growth on terraces

Details  6 years of growth from 2014 - 2020
As part of our water wise landshaping, we spent considerable effort creating a number of hand dug terraces as well as having a mini digger create an access track on a sloping amphitheater.
Terraces allow for improved rainwater infiltration, reducing runoff and erosion while also making it easier to work and harvest from the trees.
This particular area is a nice sun trap and has excellent cold air drainage. The biggest challenge is the dry and, in some places, the blackberry. Here we grow a number of fruit tree types with a focus on apricot.
Date  April 28, 2020
Tags    terrace  trees  progress 
Shitake Harvest

Shitake Harvest

September 09, 2019
Finally, after several years of waiting, shitake mushrooms are sprouting from the logs. I inoculated these fresh willow logs using the wooden dowel method and kept them in a damp shady location, checking periodically but as time went by and nothing happened, the logs inadvertently dried out and I assumed it was a failure. I ended up partially burying the logs as part of some minor earth works near a small pond. Surprise when month later mushrooms began popping. So harvested and ate.
  fungi  harvest 
Planting shelves

Planting shelves

I grow a lot of plants and trees from seeds. One space saving way that I have come up with is to use the vertical wall space at the back of the house where my nursery is located. Adding these metal 'gutters' as plant growing shelves has given plenty more growing area situated at perfect working height.
March 23, 2019
Plant propagation

Plant propagation

Details  There are many ways to obtain healthy plants for next to nothing. By propagating your own plants you not only save money but can introduce genetic variation by starting new plants from seed. If you are looking to replicate a natural ecosystem or create a biodiverse and healthy garden you are going to need a lot of plants. Many species can be cloned by taking cuttings or by layering.
Mulch, soil carbon and organic matter to improve moisture holding

Mulch, soil carbon and organic matter to improve moisture holding

Mulching is the practice or process of covering the soil with a thick layer of organic matter. This has a number of benefits depending on the mulch material and desired outcomes. Some of the advantages include preventing moisture evaporation, smothering weeds, feeding soil life and increasing soil carbon and water holding capacity.
Use as much mulch as you can get your hands on.
June 06, 2015
  mulch  carbon 
Beneficial insects

Beneficial insects

Insects play an import role in the health of our gardens and the wider ecosystem. By creating a conducive environment we can encourage the tiny helpers to hang around. Insects prey on others, pollinate plants, are food for birds and generally add to the richness, complexity and diversity of a healthy ecosystem.
  insects