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Forest gardening is not a traditional, or common way of growing food in this country, but it may offer a better way of meeting your own food needs, whilst reducing labour, and external inputs. I recently watched the DVD A Forest Garden Year, by Martin Crawford, again, and thought that I would review it for you here. The DVD was released last year, and there is a book due out later this year. The DVD would be of interest to anybody curious about Forest Garden’s.

After a short introduction, the DVD is divided into sections covering the four seasons, and shows elements of the garden relevant to the respective season.  Most of the DVD is devoted to introducing interesting plants, and discussing their uses, although there are good demonstrations of how to harvest bamboo shoots, and cleft grafting. The discussion about the various fruits which can be grafted onto existing trees was very interesting, and has inspired me to try it myself. Many of the plants discussed may be familiar to Permaculturalists, but may surprise people with less experience of growing perennial plants. Of particular practical use was the description of some of the different groundcover plants.

Some of the themes that he introduces are interesting, such as the belief that aromatic herbs may help protect nearby plants from fungal and bacterial attack, by releasing essential oil (vapour) into the air. This isn’t the first time that I’ve come across this theory, but seeing it in practise was useful. Martin also shows the viewer around his propagation area, explaining how he does things. This was particularly helpful to me, as I intend to increase my own propagation of trees and shrubs in the near future.

What the DVD does not do, is explain how to establish a Forest Garden, so for those who are considering creating their own, check the review of the Geoff Lawton, Food Forest DVD, which I reviewed


Books that may be useful include How to Make a Forest Garden, by Patrick Whitefield, and Forest Gardening by Robert Hart, both of which I have read. I’ve not had a chance to read Edible Forest Gardens (Part 2), by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier, and the price is a bit prohibitive, but have read good things about it. If there’s anybody reading this who has read it, and would like to give me a review, I would appreciate it. Martin also has a book on the subject, due out soon, which I will review as soon as I have a copy.

On balance, I think that the DVD is an excellent introcuction to the concept of Forest Gardening here in the UK, with enough to whet the appetite, and inspire people relatively new to the subject. Whilst there is plenty to glean for the people who may have spent a bit more time researching the subject, it may not be enough to justify buying a copy.

You can buy the DVD from a number of places, including The Green Shopping catalogue, and Amazon.