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Forest Gardener's Network

Edible forest gardening may be an idea whose time has come, but that does not mean that the powers that be recognize that fact. As a result, it is up to those of us with the insight, interest, and wisdom to develop forest gardening to its full potential.

We have much to learn, and much to do together. Numerous plants stand ready to function as workhorse species in forest gardens for many regions of the temperate world, yet many, many more offer great potential to diversify the ranks of our garden allies if we simply select and breed them for a while. We know only the barest beginnings of which plants work best as dynamic accumulators, specialist insect nectaries, or beneficial insect overwintering habitat. We need to experiment with replicate trials of polyculture combinations in the same and in different soil, moisture, and light environments to see which species work well together, and which do not, in which situations. We need to taste-test species, test hardiness, expand the range of known useful plants, determine best management strategies and techniques, and on and on.

This work is not only for the professional scientist, though we would love to work with such folks. Anyone who plants a forest garden is, by the mere fact of planting a forest garden and planting interesting plants, expanding the edges of the field. If you plant a batch of seedling plants, and some die, you have already begun a plant selection and breeding process that will eventually result in varieties better adapted to your garden environment and your style of management (or lack thereof). All we need to do is to be a little more conscious about what we are up to, take good notes, and share our information with each other. Each of our individual actions will add together into something powerful, beautiful, and highly useful and adaptive for the human species.

This page of Edible Forest Gardens.com is intended to grow into a whole realm of the website devoted to supporting, enhancing, and organizing our various activities as on-the-ground action researchers. We would love your ideas about how to put this aspect of the website together. What do you most need? What do you have to offer? What are your interests? What services can this website—or indeed, a forest garden research organization—provide that will make your efforts work best as part of a larger effort? Please use the Contact page to get in touch and share your thoughts. As people's ideas arise and are shared, watch this page grow and change in response. And keep up the good work!

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