Forest Garden: Highly Productive, Low Maintenance
In a forest garden there is usually a mix of trees, shrubs and perennial plants. By design, and by their natural characteristics, they require low maintenance. They tend to be very productive. The crops which a forest garden will produce can include things like nuts, fruits, edible leaves, herbs, honey, spices and medicinal plants. They can also produce basketry materials, poles, fibres for covering and for tying, fuel-wood, fodder, mulches, game, sap (which can be extracted for sweeteners, beer, antiseptics, waterproofing and so on). Forest gardens (sometimes called home gardens) are major part of the food production in tropical regions and have been used for millennia.
Although, as mentioned, a forest garden is low maintenance there may come a time when it may needs to be modified or extended (or even established). One way of doing so is to use a Rewilding Stick (see the links to Rewilding Stick videos on this page). A Rewilding Stick is designed for planting seeds directly into rough ground. It is a low tech, low cost solution to planting of trees and other plants. This fits in well with the Forest Garden philosophy of achieving high levels of productivity while keeping it low maintenance.
Sometimes it is better to raise seedlings and to plant out the seedlings. However, that can be very labor-intensive and time-consuming and using a Rewilding Stick offers many advantages as an alternative. Seeds can be picked, or gathered, and then planted within the same area. Since seeds are often best planted in the season in which they emerge this is a perfect time to plant them.
This saves all the effort of transporting the seeds off site, raising them as seedlings and then transporting them as seedlings back on site, clear the ground, and plant them out. Using Rewilding Stick the seeds can be planted directly where they are wanted. Seedlings often need to recover from the shock of being planted out, but not so for seeds growing in situ.
A Rewilding Stick allows us to mimic the way nature plants seeds, except that human beings are doing the planting. Normally a forest is maintained as a side-effect of the foraging and burrowing of animal species. In many areas there are insufficient animal species left to carry out these tasks. Therefore a Rewilding Stick can be a very effective way of maintaining the forest.
There is always the chance that some of the trees and other plants emerging from the seeds planted in this way will be consumed by the local animals. However, there are ways around this, such as by using existing plant cover as a shield. Also, using a Rewilding Stick is such a cheap, quick and easy means of planting that concerns that local animals might “damage” the crop are greatly reduced. In fact, local animals can be seen as an ally as later the will help spread the seeds of the emerging plants and help maintain the ecology of the area.
William Fergus Martin
Founder The Global Rewilding Initiative
& The Global Forgiveness Initiative