Food Forests NZ

Food forests and forest gardens are promoted through permaculture . This forum is for those who are growing or would like to grow one in their property.

Location: Riverton
Members: 157
Latest Activity: Oct 1, 2020

Click on Robyns icon to see pictures of her Southland Food forest.
Finally our 'Welcome to the Food Forest' 8 minute movie can be watched on line. It is a great introduction to permaculture and our Centre. [[]]

Filmed autumn 2016  - 8 minutes of our forest garden this season

Filmed spring 2016 - 20 minutes of our forest garden with some great drone footage

Discussion Forum

Cow Parsley 1 Reply

Hello everyone,  I live and grow in Taumarunui and was wondering if anyone knew where to get cow parsley seeds.  I have scrolled through sites that I thought may have them but I guess they class it…Continue

Started by Rosemary. Last reply by Kali Aug 15, 2019.

Barrier plants. 4 Replies

I've been looking at barrier plants, with the idea of 'fencing' off our future food forest area from kikuyu invasion.Came across Vetiver (…Continue

Started by Nathan Rushton. Last reply by Andy Oct 4, 2015.

Nitrogen fixing NON invasive plants 9 Replies

Hi all, Having been exposed to  the world of food forests ( friend has a Geoff Lawton dvd).   I  had a "light bulb" moment  and down this merry path my feet carry me. Our  land  was stripped of …Continue

Started by John Park. Last reply by Nick Rountree Sep 9, 2015.

Perennial vegetables 16 Replies

Hi food forest fans,I thought it would be useful if we created a list of perennial vegetables that would be suitable additions to food forests. It seems one of the benefits of food forests is that…Continue

Started by Wayne Erb. Last reply by Anna Robinson Jul 6, 2015.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Robyn Guyton on July 28, 2011 at 9:35am
I think one of the best things about permaculture forest gardens is that they are ultra three dimensional.  The layering you can achieve on one small patch with every root and top in it's own space.  Every 4 square metres you can have a fruit tree, 3-4 berries, herbs in between, and bulbs and tubers underground.   Add in some nitrogen fixing plants and a vine winding up the tree and even some perennial vegetables.  Makes the separate orchard then the berry patch then the herb garden look like a waste of space as only one dimension above and below ground is used.
Comment by Robyn Guyton on July 27, 2011 at 3:11am
We have done that with shitaki mushrooms  - what other ones does he suggest? Must try and read his book.
Comment by Christy Ralphs on July 26, 2011 at 9:23pm

thanks robyn... slowly but surely...

re fungi, i meant more edible fungi, by inoculating stumps or logs in the forest garden.

Comment by Robyn Guyton on July 26, 2011 at 8:28pm

looks great Christy you are definitely on to it! 

Fungi in Food forests... we have learned that every plant has a symbiotic fungi.  They attach themselves to the roots and convert nutrients into a form those  roots can absorb and in return they get the sugars they need.  

Comment by Christy Ralphs on July 26, 2011 at 6:45pm
...just picked up 'creating a forest garden' by martin crawford from the library, looking forward to reading. particularly interested in the chapter 'fungi in forest gardens' - has anyone tried doing this?
Comment by Christy Ralphs on July 26, 2011 at 6:41pm

Thanks for the pics Robyn - inspirational, and has motivated me to get back out there and keep developing mine. Some pics below:

This is a 'before' picture of the area I decided to convert. There is some existing citrus and a loquat.


This is as of yesterday, photo taken from approx same place. the shade cloth knee high fence is to keep the ducks in. This is the end I started work on first.


closer up view... the plants in there that are for 'chop and drop' need to be cut back. Most successful edible ground cover has been a spreading 'wild' strawberry. latest edition is a 'proper' duck run in far right corner, where I am currently shutting them away at night so I can collect their eggs, and when there are ducklings they will be able to be protected from our predatory pukeko.

Another before photo...

With the after photo not looking quite so impressive - have a lot of work to do!

Comment by Kali on July 24, 2011 at 2:28pm
I got all inspired this morning and set about clearing more grass and mulching small fruit trees with paper to create bare areas to plant with herbs later on.  I had to put rocks on to anchor it down  because wekas come and drag  it off to get to the goodies underneath. I put some lupin seed around where the soil was bare. I noticed some new alexanders seedlings emerging where a plant seeded last year, so thats exciting. I have lots of alkanet growing around which is just starting to flower, it grows much better through winter and sooner than the comfrey which I cannot see at all just yet. will there be some fresh seed of sweet cicely at sces this year Robyn? i tried it before but didn't germinate for me. once the grass is under control the thing that takes the opportunity is buttercup, we have heaps here, I am told because it likes acid/boggy soil. it is easy to weed with a sharp knife and creates lots of compostable material, any thoughts about the pros and cons of buttercup?
Comment by Nadine on July 22, 2011 at 9:18am

thank you so much for uploading these photos. Absolutely inspirational, and so much easier to picture the understory, I hadn't imagined it to be so dense.  And all so delicious - I wanted to reach into the computer to eat those currants!

Comment by Robyn Guyton on July 22, 2011 at 6:49am
I have just loaded lots of pictures of our food forest on to my ooooby page-  click on my icon to go to them!
Comment by Robyn Guyton on July 20, 2011 at 4:19am
Thanks Kali - I will try those recipes for cow parsley!  You learn something new every day!   It was interesting that she suggested people might confuse it with hemlock which although a good herb for building up fertility in the soil is very toxic.  However hemlock smells very strong and toxic you wouldn't even think of nibbling any and it has very distinctive dark red spots covering the stems which others in the umbliferous  herbs don't have.  Another lovely herb we have in our under - story is Sweet Cicely which has a lovely aniseed smell.  The leavers are a natural sweetener (boil and use liquid e.g stewing sour fruit and you need half the sugar) and the oily seed pods can be used for oiling wood a well as the plant is attracting beneficial insects.  They say that each plant or animal you have in your forest should have three purposes!

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