The Home-Scale Forest Garden: How to Plan, Plant, and Tend a Resilient Edible Landscape

Regular price $ 34.95

by Dani Baker

Chelsea Green Publishing

5/20/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781645020981


Learn how to create an edible forest garden--perfect for gardeners and growers at any scale!

Includes over 100 cold-hardy berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, perennial vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, mushrooms, and more.

When market gardener Dani Baker attended a permaculture workshop at her local Cooperative Extension office in upstate New York, she was inspired by its message of working with nature to create a thriving edible garden ecosystem. She immediately launched a new experiment she dubbed the "Enchanted Edible Forest." In The Home-Scale Forest Garden, Baker shares what she learned as she became a forest gardener, providing a practical, in-depth guide to creating a beautiful, bountiful edible landscape at any scale--from a few dozen square feet to an acre or more.

Baker provides information on planning, planting, and maintaining a resilient forest garden ecosystem, including:

  • Using permaculture principles
  • Observing and mapping your space
  • Building planting beds, including hügelkultur mounds
  • Coping with saturated soil
  • Matching perennial edible plants to the right growing conditions
  • Grouping plants in diverse layers that attract and shelter beneficial insects and birds
  • Creating microclimates to increase the range of plants you can grow
  • Pruning, propagating, managing pests, and more
  • Expending less energy for greater reward

The Home-Scale Forest Garden is complete with descriptions of over 100 food-bearing and multifunctional plants for every layer of a forest garden: overstory and understory trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, groundcovers, vines, and mushrooms, too.

The book includes over 200 photographs taken over 10 years of forest development, along with illustrations of a garden layout and special plant groupings for a range of conditions, including hot, dry sites and shady, moist sites.

Throughout, Baker candidly shares both her mistakes and her successes to help readers better understand the dynamics of a forest garden as it grows and changes over time. From her Asian Pear Adventure and Tamarack Travesty to her discoveries of unique ways to rescue and transplant tree seedlings, readers will appreciate the practical advice as she recounts lessons learned from her grand edible gardening experiment.

This is the perfect guide for gardeners of all experience levels who want to work with nature's model and expand the range of food crops they grow as they embark on their own forest garden adventure.


"Working with the natural world in our gardens has never been more important with the challenges we now face through climate change. Forest gardening offers hope, inspiration, and solutions for the future, and Dani Baker shows gardeners how to embrace this important method on a smaller scale. Build resilience and create a low maintenance edible haven with this accessible guide."--Kim Stoddart, editor, The Organic Way magazine; co-author of The Climate Change Garden

"This book brings to life the visual beauty and the diverse productivity a perennial landscape can offer to anyone looking to get started or improve on what they've created. Forest gardening can often feel intimidating, but Dani Baker's unique experience coupled with her friendly tone and plenty of details on the best plants, placement, and companions provides anyone interested in building a food forest with a plethora of material to help them succeed."--Steve Gabriel, co-author of Farming the Woods; author of Silvopasture; extension specialist, Cornell Small Farms Program

"Experienced gardeners with a serious interest in sustainability would do well to check this out." --Publishers Weekly

About the Author:

Dani Baker and her partner, David Belding, farm at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada, where they raise certified organic produce and grass-fed beef and goats. Dani is a retired clinical psychologist and a self-taught gardener who learned her craft by immersing herself in reading, poring over nursery catalogs, attending workshops on permaculture and gardening, and enthusiastic trial-and-error experimentation. Dani now conducts workshops and tours at her edible forest garden as well as giving presentations at organic farming conferences and other venues. She takes particular pleasure in inspiring others to try their hand at incorporating permaculture principles in their gardens.