Video: Permaculture Trio

February 21st, 2008

This video is really three different views of permaculture gardens rolled into one. Notes below the video.

Forest Gardening with Robert Hart

Robert Hart was born on 1 April 1913, and died on 7 March 2000. He was a vegan (eating around 90% raw food) who took up farming at Wenlock Edge, in Shropshire.

  • garden is on the site of an ancient Celtic monastery
  • inspired by the urge to create a practical solution to world hunger
  • also cared for his handicapped brother, Lacon, born with severe learning difficulties
  • “vision was to plant a miniature edible forest to fulfil the needs of a healthy diet in beautiful surroundings”
  • garden was established in the early 1960s
  • success depends upon planting in layers to mimic nature
  • 7 storeys
    • canopy layer: tall, light-demanding trees e.g. mature fruit trees
    • low-tree layer: short, shade-tolerant trees e.g. smaller nuts and fruit trees, and dwarf fruit varieties
    • shrub layer: bushes e.g. currants and berries
    • herbaceous layer: perennial vegetables and herbs
    • ground cover layer: horizontal spreading plants e.g. strawberries
    • rhizosphere: underground area, plants grown for roots/tubers
    • vertical layer: climbers, creepers, vines
  • Mahatma Gandhi was the inspiration, with his vision of a world order of democratic, self-sustaining small communities
  • some of the trees have been planted in memory of inspirational figures
  • garden is kept mulched all year
  • mulch suppresses weeds, maintains desirable soil temperature, retains moisture, feeds microorganisms
  • good compost contains a wide variety of organic materials
  • shredded woody material is excellent for the compost
  • no chemicals used, but foliar sprays of liquid comfrey, nettles etc
  • attention paid to the relationships between different plants (companion planting)
  • sells produce to local greengrocer and whole-food restaurant
  • advice on how to start a forest garden from scratch:
    • start an orchard of standard fruit trees, planted at the recommended spacing (20 ft apart)
    • plant dwarf trees in between the standard trees
    • plant bushes (e.g. currants, gooseberries) in between the trees
    • plant herbs and perennials at the ground level
    • once established, the main work is cutting back plants so they don’t encroach on each other too much, and keeping the soil well-mulched
  • forest gardens give maximum output for minimum labour

Plants For A Future (PFAF) with Ken Fern

  • (15:50) profile of Ken Fern, building a farm in Cornwall using many of Robert’s ideas
  • Ken has a massive variety of plants growing on his farm, and goes through some of the more interesting ones
  • Ken maintains the Plants For A Future (PFAF) web site and database, listing over 7000 plants that can be grown in the UK

Mike and Julia Guerra

  • (32:10) tiny backyard forest garden in Hartfordshire
  • the garden is 75 square metres, and gives 250 kg of food per year (15 tons/acre!), for 2 hours of garden work per week
  • was inspired by a Bill Mollison documentary to start growing his own food
  • turned their barren backyard into a very productive food garden
  • mostly zone 1, intensive herb and vegetable garden
  • (39.25) cool strawberry tower
  • companion planting
  • use warmth of the compost heap to dry shallots or grow seedlings
  • growing potatoes in old tyres
  • worm farm – “wormery”; use castings, liquid (“worm wee”) for heavy feeders like tomatoes
  • greens during winter fight depression

Entry Filed under: Permaculture


  • 1. Constance  |  July 8th, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Please keep trhowing these posts up they help tons.

  • 2. Darren  |  July 25th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    @Constance: I now post all the permaculture stuff over at my other blog,


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