Page 1 of 2

Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:46 pm
by rustyfingers
We are building our Off-Grid Survivalist Retreat - Retirement Homestead, back into the wilderness on 100 acres of woodland we own on the Canadian Sheild in Ontario, Canada. Our acreage is very remote at 4 kilometers into the bush from the nearest roadway, down an old abandoned railway line & about 20 kilometers from the nearest large community.

It's our intention to recreate a small section of this woodland into a "Permaculture Forest Garden" using knowledge & information we are constantly learning & gathering from the Internet. This garden will grow primarily Heirloom quality vegetables from seed, 100% organically for both a farmers market sales booth & our own kitchen tables here. We've made a public invitation to any who wish to join us here, to do so, free of any charge & at thier own risk &/or expence for any low-impact shelters they wish to erect to live in on our acreage. The only requirements being that any who do so must assist with the continued efforts & success of the garden.

I am 50 years old now & my wife is not too far behind this age. We don't have very much prior gardening experience other than a small raised bed system I've grown in previously for the last 2 years now & we would really like to hear back from any others who have grown successfully in these remote or forested circumstances & who can provide ANY welcome advice with these methods.

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:24 am
by Civil Offense
No advise sorry. But envious of your situation and the possibilities. :D

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:50 pm
by Longshot
Hi, used to live in the upper Ottawa Valley. There is a good reason there aren't many farms on the Canadian shield. When I dug up potatoes the crop looked good until you realized they were mostly rocks. The deer eat anything you will so fencing is a must. You can try fishing line fences but they didn't work for us. The bees used to do well but if the bears find them that's it. Keep the hives as close to the house as you can. The bears are still fearful of humans because of the hunters but are getting bolder.
I would recommend some cold frames and hoop houses to extend the growing season but not to try and keep them up all winter as the snow load will collapse them and the cold will kill everything by December anyway. Final tip. Get lots of bug netting for any work outside after mid May, just when you are trying to get the garden started. I'm not trying to make anyone quit but get ready for a new normal if your not from the area. Go for a camping trip at planting time (first week of June) Good luck to all. Jeff

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:43 am
by Sue
From what I've understood about food forests is it's important first to just sit and watch for a while.

Track where the sun shines and doesn't shine in all seasons. Where does the snow drift? Is it windier in one area than another? How does the water behave on the property in different seasons? Do you have any water features? And so on.

I am still mostly observing on our property before planting anything bigger than a kitchen garden. Though this year I hope to introduce blueberries where the wild blueberries have already shown me that the soil is good for them.

Start a property journal and keep track of wildlife visits - where are their pathways; when do the various natural plants bloom and so on. In short, observe and interact. I believe that's the first principle of permaculture.

Find a real permaculture teacher in your area, or go where there is one if you have to. Best of luck with the learning curve!

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:41 pm
by Sue
The link below was shared by someone from another forum for a permaculture course. One may follow along with the lectures for free and not get a credit, or pay and get credit at the end. There are 2 'textbooks' ...

"Gaia's Garden" available from


"Introduction to Permaculture", which you can get in Canada by going here -

The lectures are available here - ... 26e7b4ef1b

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:14 pm
by tropicalgoddess
Sounds like a great idea, and because you live in a forest area this style of food production will be most suitable, nature is already doing it where you live. I recommend the food forest DVD by Geoff Lawton, which you have probably already seen, and perhaps as you live somewhere cold get some information about how Sepp Holzer gardens.
For those not familiar with a Food Forest, it doesn't replace your zone 1 garden.
To locate a permaculturist near you check out the
Good luck with your exciting project and sounds like a nice spot you have.
from Far North Queensland, Australia.

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:16 am
by Mr. Momo
Identify your soil type and plan accordingly. Much of Norther Ontario shield is acidic soils where things like blueberries will thrive, but your potatoes and carrots will choke. Other spots like around the tri-towns have beautiful clay soils that can grow wheat and damn near anything else. Have your soil identified. (Ministry of Natural Resources, or local conservation authority or even universities like Nipissing or Lakehead)

Don't assume you can grow what you are planing. Get it checked out.

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:24 am
by Cosmas
One thing that worries me about forest gardens is light. In the UK we sometimes don't get enough sun to really get things growing to their full potential and having various layers seems to me to be exacerbating this problem. The plus side is that in Pembrokeshire you shouldn't often have problems with water shortage. Forest gardens do need some work doing on them. I have seen one that had to be completely restructured because it hadn't been tended much for a long time. It looks a lot better now, and thinks some regular maintenance is being done on it now.
If you have animals you will have unexpected jobs as they never read the books (or if they do, so they know how to confuse you.). One thing that strikes me about time saving is ways of dealing with manure in as efficient way as possible so you can compost/spread it for improving the soil.

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:30 pm
by Beth
Northern Ontario gardening, wow you have your work cut out for you, but that said Ive seen some pretty nice garden in the Yukon. I would think the moose walking though might be a problem. As for gardening Permaculture Forest Garden style you got me there. something i,m just looking into.

Re: Permaculture Forest Garden

Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:20 am
by carbon04
if your setting up from scratch install a hydroponics system, or even an acquaponics system (forego the expensive hydroponics fertilizer mix and add a protein source to your diet)....why grow outdoors seasonally, when you can grow 3 - 4 times faster indoors in the dead of winter?