Forest Garden with focus on PA-8


I started this design on 11.7.2021. The main reason was that some decisions about maintaining and developing our forest garden needed to be made. The general ideas of agroforestry, forest garden and experimenting with different fruit and nut trees was an important part of our thinking from the very beginning. We planted trees already the first summer we were here in 2014 mainly on the north side of the property as a windbreak. Every year more trees have been planted and until now several hundred trees and bushes and xx species have been planted. At the same time we have studied the subject and the Vision has evolved. I had a pause in the winter 2021-22 while writing up Design 1: Water and making ponds, Design 2: Buildings and Energy systems and Design 3: Caring for Bees. I wrote this design intensively in May – June 2022 but went on Pause for the summer. I am continuing in late September 2022 after having concentrated on “Caring for Bees” in August-September. In the meantime also implementation has continued. Pause again until November 2023


  • Content
  • The Design Process
    • 1. Vision
    • 2. Observe
      • 2.1. Forest Garden Literature and Theoretical Framework
        • Succession
        • Forest Architecture
        • Guilds
      • 2.2. Experiences in forest Gardens close by
        • Joel Rosenberg, Salmenrannan tila
        • Ulla-Maija Takkunen, Kylänpään kotitila
        • Vakka-taimi
        • Mustila arboretum
        • Tammiston arboretum
      • 2.3. What we did so far at Iso-orvokkiniitty
        • Our Design Process so far
        • Method of Planting
        • Maintanance
          • Irrigation
          • Mowing Grass
          • Mulching
          • Weeding
          • Protecting
          • Fertlising and Liming
      • 2.4. Limits, Borders and resources
        • Time and money
        • Climate
        • Species
        • Plants and Propagation
        • The property
          • Water and Soil
          • Zones, Sectors and Planning Areas
          • Our limits
    • 3. Evaluate
      • 3.1. Our Needs
      • 3.2. PMI
      • 3.3. Elements and Functions, Inputs and outputs
      • 3.4. What we have vs Our Vision and the Theoretical Framework
        • Our Vision
        • Succession
        • Forest Architecture
          • Windbreak in PA5 and along the road in PA6
          • Planting nuts in PA8
          • Planting fruit trees in the Potager garden in PA3
        • Guilds
    • 4. Design
      • 4.1. Principles
        • Mollison
        • Planetary Boundaries
        • Yeoman
        • Crawford
        • Jacke
        • Sobkowiak
      • 4.2. The Forest Garden Design
        • The Vision and overall Objectives
        • The Time Scale
        • Fruits and Berries
        • The Nut Project
        • Perennial Vegetables
        • Designing Guilds
          • Objectives, Limitations and Species
          • Coniferous Guild next to the Big Pond
          • Choosing Plants to Complement the Trees
        • Young Forest PA9
        • Mowing
        • Fencing
        • Soil
        • Workshops and Courses
      • 4.3. Integration
        • With the Pond
        • With Bees
        • With Fungi
        • WIth Food
        • With the Social
    • 5. Maintenance
    • 6. Implementation

The Design Process

In this design I will follow the (V)OBREDIM(ET) design process because I like that it is divided in several steps and it is iterative.  

1. Vision

So let’s lay the foundation first and describe the Vision and how Permaculture’s 3 ethical principles come to play:

    • A forest garden is a more diverse production system than a field or a forest. Transforming a field or a forest into a forest garden restores biodiversity and wildlife.A forest garden helps climate mitigation and adaptation at the same time.A forest garden is a regenerative food system.
    • Carbon sequestration is increased
    • A forest garden can be managed with low inputs and maintenance.
    • Produce relevant amounts of food for ourselves and a surplus for others.
    • Develop a regenerative food production system for a northern temperate climate.
    • Mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss (which is also a benefit for people).
    • A forest garden is an investment for the future. It will take 10 to 30 years and more to develop a fully productive forest garden and therefore people coming after us will benefit the most.
    • Gather and disseminate knowledge about how to start and manage a forest garden in a northern temperate climate.

Based on the above ethical principles a VISION is developed:


We can mirror this also to what others have said about the Goals of Forest Gardening. In “Ediple Forest Gardens” (Jacke, Toensmeier. 2005) six goals are mentioned:

  1. Gives an abundant diversity of tasty, nutritious food and other useful products.
  2. Creates a stable resilient garden ecosystem, driven by solar energy, that largely maintains and renews itself.
  3. Protects and restores ecosystem health.
  4. Embodies beauty, elegance and spirit in the landscape.
  5. Improves economic sustainability.
  6. Cultivates a new paradigm for human participation in the ecology of cultural and natural landscapes.

All these goals are as relevant to us as well.

2. Observe

Observe can be divided in parts:

  1. Literature & Theoretical framework for forest gardens
  2. Experiences in forest gardens close by
  3. What we have already done at Iso-orvokkiniitty
  4. Our Needs
  5. Limits, borders and resources
Some forest garden related actions (planting trees or bushes) have been taken almost on all Zones (excluding zone 5) and Planning Areas.

2.1. Forest garden literature and theoretical framework

The literature and other information sources about temperate climate forest gardens is already quite extensive although practical examples tend to have a rather short history relative to how much time it takes to develop a fully functional forest garden system. The literature I mainly rely on is the following:

  1. Dave Jacke, Eric Tonsmaier: Edible Forest Gardens.
    1. Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture. 2005. Canada. (EFG1)
    2. Ecological Design and Practise for Temperate Climate Permaculture. 2005. Canada. (EFG2)
  2. Martin Crawford: Creating a Forest Garden. Working with Nature to grow Ediple Crops. 2010. England. (CFG)
  3. Philip Weiss, Annevi Sjöberg: Skogsträdgården. Odla ätbart överalt. 2018. Sweden. (STG) (Forest Garden. Grow edibles everywhere)
  4. Joel Rosenberg: Pähkinöitä omasta puutarhasta. Opas suomalaisten pähkinöiden kasvattamiseen. 2021. Finland (POP). (Nuts from your own garden. Guide for growing Finnish nuts.)
  5. Philipp Weiss: Nötodlarens Handbok. 2022. Sweden (NOH) (Nut growers handbook) (This book was published after I had started the design.)
  6. Suomen puu- ja pensaskasvio. Ed. Väre, H., Saarinen,J., Kurtto, A., Hämet-Ahti, L. 3rd Edition. 2021. (Woody Flora of Finland) (SPP)

Without referencing everything that is said in those books it should suffice to highlight the main 3 concepts: Succession, Forest architecture and Guilds as important helps in designing a forest garden.


“Ecological succession is the process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time” (1). In a natural situation succession would start from a forest fire or storm. In a forest garden context the starting point would typically be a field but it could also be a clear-cut forest or we could jump in mid-succession in a young forest.

In southern Finland a forest succession starting from clear-cut forest (if not planted) or forest fire in a “Spruce-dominated boreal forest” or “Nemoral spruce forest” like ours would look like this (2)(3):

  1. Forest fire or clear-cut forest
  2. Pioneer species appear: willowherb/fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium), alder (Alnus incana) and birch (Betula pendula and B. pubescens). Where we are in Southern Finland also hazelnut (Corulys avellana) and raspberry (Rubus ideaeus) will certainly appear at this point.
  3. In the growing phase competition for light becomes gradually more intensive and the pioneering species will phade away. The shrub and low-tree layers include rowan, alder, goat willow (Salix caprea) and alder buckthorn (korpipaatsama; Frangula alnus). Alders and alder buckthorns are nitrogen fixers in symbiosis with Frankia bacteria. Birch grows typically to 25 metres and lives up to 120-140 years. In the meantime spruce takes over as undergrowth as young spruce tolerate shadow well.
  4. Finally spruce takes over as other young trees can not grow in the shade and the birches die out. The forest reaches it’s final climax as an old spruce forest. There is too much shade for even young spruce to survive underneath and there is no undergrowth.
  5. Without a clearcut or a forest fire small patches will be opened by old trees falling as they get affected by diseases, pests or storms. In those openings a succession will start again in small scale. This can be emulated by “continuous forestry” methods.

This is of course a simplistic view of forest succession based on the idea that large forest fires and storms would have created a situation similar to clear cutting a forest. So this is used to justify the idea that clear cut is a “natural” starting point of forest succession. Of course it is highly unprovable that this would have been the situation in pre-industrial Finnish forests. Forest fires only partially burn forests and storms generally create only small openings in the forest and thereby help create fragmented diverse forest structures over time. (4)

In Finland there is very little – less than 5% – left of old practically untouched forest. In Southern parts of Finland probably less than 0,5% of the forest area is old natural forest – “aarniometsä“. It is clear that the last part of the natural succession of a forest – which takes hundreds of years to evolve – is almost completely missing from our nature. And as it happens, it takes hundreds of years to get it back.

It is good to realise that logging and exploiting forest is by no means a modern time phenomenon. Wood has always been extensively used in Finland for firewood and construction not to speak of slash and burn agriculture that was practised up to the 19th century. In the 17th century Finland was Europe’s leading producer of tar for ship builders and the highest export volumes were in the later have of 19th century when 227000 barrels of tar was exported (6). This of course had a toll on Finnish forests. Landscape paintings and early photographs of Finnish countryside in the 19th century shows that the land around farmhouses was largely cleared from forest. It is clear that a “18th century lifestyle” at Finland’s current population level would not be possible.

At Iso-orvokkiniitty our forest is in different stages of 3 and 4 of the succession described above.

A field is of course a man-made situation in nature. For anything similar to happen naturally would require an unimaginable natural disaster where all vegetation disappears and the topsoil is bare in a large area… (earthquake, volcanic disruption, landslide). When the starting point of a natural (unaided) succession is a field and it has been cultivated (soil is bare) it will transit to Stage 2 very fast with birch dominating. If the starting point is an old permanent grass field (like in our case) the grass will resist the transition and going to stage 2 will take a bit longer. Deer, hares and voles will help the resistance by eating young trees. Mainly willow (Salix sp), aspen (Populus tremula) and alder (Alnus incana) will spread into the field via offshoots from the edges and gradually take the field into stage 2. Of course in our case we are planting trees trying to push the field into Stage 2 faster and later we’ll want to prevent the forest garden from going much further than stage 2-3 in succession.

Forest architecture

In “Ediple Forest Gardens” (EFG1 page 69 to 109) Dave Jacke defines the five elements of Forest Architecture as

  • vegetation layers
  • soil horizons
  • vegetation density
  • patterning
  • diversity

Let’s try to condense the main message:

Vegetation layers or vertical layers of plants in a forest system is a popular concept in forest garden design. The layers can be defined in several ways. Jacke (EFG1 page 72-73) uses:

  • Overstory tree or shrub canopy
  • Understory tree and shrub layers
  • Herb and ground layers
  • Vines

In “Creating a Forest Garden” (CFG page 25-26) Crawford uses 7 layers:

  • Medium to large canopy trees over about 10 metres high
  • Small trees and large shrubs up to 4-9 metres high
  • Shrubs up to 3 metres high
  • Herbaceous perennials and evergreen plants
  • Ground-cover plants and creepers
  • Climbers, perennial or shrub
  • The underground layer

Between the Vegetation layers and Soil Horizons is the saprophytic layer of rotting wood in different degrees. (my observation – is it mentioned in the books?) This layer is enhanced by mulching.

Soil horizons (EFG1 p x to y)

  • Topsoil
  • Subsoil
  • Substratum and bedrock

Vegetation density (EFG1 p 84 to 93)

  • Coverage: how much a given plant, tree etc covers the ground.
    • Forest: 100% canopy coverage and interlocking tree crowns.
    • Woodland: Tree crowns are not interlocking but coverage is more than 40%
    • Less than 40% coverage: shrub thicket, scrubland or grassland depending on which other layer has over 40% coverage.
  • Crown density: The density of the tree crowns of different tree species can vary widely determining how much it shades the lower layers.
  • Root density: The root spread of trees has been shown to be 3-4 times the trees canopy width and differs from species to an other. Most trees have a lateral root tendency while others develop a vertical tap root.

These are important considerations because if the degree of competition becomes too high, the plants will be stressed.

Patterning (EFG1 p 93 to 100)

  • Edge effect
  • Surface area effect
  • Fragmentation, Islands, Corridors

Diversity (EFG1 p 101 to 108)

  • Scales of Diversity
    • Diversity within habitat
    • Diversity between Habitats
  • Kinds of Diversity
    • Composition
    • Structures
    • Functions
  • What diversity does:
    • diversity produces more niches
    • d. reduces competition
    • d. increases productivity and yield
    • d. generates functional interconnection
    • d. generates stability and resilience
    • d. reduces herbivory
    • d. creates beauty
    • Dominance militates against diversity


‘Guilds’ in a forest garden are groups of species that support each other in beneficial ways, aiding self-maintenance and reducing work required to maintain the system.

Martin Crawford: “Creating a Forest Garden” (page 196)

“So in an ideal guild you’ll have plants of various types performing the following functions (Martin Crawford: CFG page 196):

  • Nitrogen fixing plants to supply nitrogen.
  • Mineral-accumulator plants to help supply other nutrients.
  • Beneficial insect plants to minimise pest problems.
  • Bee plants, both for wild and honeybees.
  • Plants with different root systems, to exploit the soil space and soil layers efficiently.
  • Aromatic plants to confuse pests and increase system health.
  • Ground cover plants to densely cover the soil surface.

“…guild build requires at least three things: clear objectives, knowledge of the site’s limiting factors and an understanding of the species niches of the species you are working with” (EFG1: p 167)

Joel’s main forest garden area is fenced against deer. (Joel’s forest garden 2021)

2.2. Experiences in Forest Gardens close by

Joel Rosenberg, Salmenrannan tila

Joel started his ediple forest garden on Salmenrannan tila in Laitila (Finnish Zone 2) in 2011. Maybe his forest garden is the first one in Finland that has been consciously started and developed as a ediple forest garden as defined in this article. He has also held several courses on forest gardens and is author of the “Nuts from your own garden” book “Pähkinöitä omasta puutarhasta” (2021). Joel’s blog is also interesting reading. Joel is the nro 1 advocate of Ediple Forest Gardens in Finland.

I have been on his 1-day course at Salmenranta in 2017 and visited also in 2021. Salmenranta is a family summer cottage but with a large area of fragmented old garden land and field where Joel has planted trees, bushes and perennial vegetables in various places. The main planting area was originally a piece of field that Joel has fenced off to protect the plants from getting eaten by deer and hares. Eliminating the foraging pressure of deer has an important positive effect on how the plants grow.

The slide show shows some photos we took on our visit in July 2021.

Ulla-Maija Takkunen, Kylänpään kotitila

Ulla-Maija is a visionary forest gardener with an intuitive sense of what the soil and plants need. She started developing her forest garden at Kylänpään Kotitila in Karjalohja in 2019 and while the trees are still small she has already created a thriving biodiversity which will be fascinating to follow in the years to come. The photo gallery on her web-site gives an impression of the abundance she has already created.


Vakkataimi arranges annually a plant day where also others can come to sell their seedlings. This is the occasions to find edible plants for your project. (September 2021)
Inside the hazelnut plantation. Vakkataimi 2021.
Kiwi production in Vakkataimi. September 2021.

Vesa Muurinen started Vakka-taimi in the early 1990’s as an experimental garden. The garden includes over 2300 taxons planted on an area of over 2 hectares. While the main focus of the garden has not been to create an ediple forest garden the garden includes a huge variety of trees, bushes and climbers of which many are ediple and of interest for a forest gardener and permaculturist. His various Juglans sp. are already real trees and he has kiwi producing yield in his forest garden. He has also planted 400 local hazel nuts which produce a sellable crop. The main business of the garden is selling seedlings and it is the dreamland of anyone planting a forest garden in Nordic conditions.

Mustila Arboretum

Climbing hortensia growing on old pine trees, the undercover is rhododendrons which are one of Mustila’s specialities. August 2020.

The first trees were planted in Mustila Arboretum – founded by A.F. Tigerstedt – in 1902. The whole area is 120 hectares and it has been open to public and research since 1984. The location is between Finnish hardiness zones 2 and 3. A huge variety and number of plants has been planted with origins in North America, Far-East and Europe and others. Over 100 coniferous and c 200 deciduous trees grow at Mustila as well as hundreds of bushes and perennials. Mustila has not focused on ediple plants but nevertheless an arboretum with 120 years history is extremely interesting to visit as a forest gardener. Also Mustila Arboretum holds annually a plant selling day with sellers coming from Finland and the Baltic countries to offer their perennials.

Tammiston Arboretum

Tammisto Arboretum is our local gem in Karjalohja. It was founded by Gustaf Komppa in 1919 and encompasses about 4 hectares. Most of the plantings are from the early days of the arboretum but the current owner planted new trees in 2014-16. After that there seems to be no activity or maintenance there. It is currently not managed so a visit there is quite exotic. The arboretum includes huge Juglans cinerea trees (maybe the biggest in Europe).

Below in a slide show are a few photos from Tammisto arboretum in September 2022.

2.3. What we did so far at Iso-orvokkiniitty

Our Design Process so far

While the main focus has been on creating the forest garden on our fields, some forest garden related actions (planting trees or bushes) have been taken almost on all our Zones (excluding zone 5) and Planning Areas.

Most of the forest garden s in Zone 3 (situation Spring 2022).
Most of the forest garden has been planted on Planning areas 5, 6 and 8.
  • PA5: Windbreak on the north side of our fields
  • PA6: Ediple bushes and trees and perennial vegetables along our road also as windbreak
  • PA4: Mainly plums and pears on the north side of our road and some apple trees and Juglans sp towards the forest
  • PA8: The main area for nuts production: large number of hazels, Juglans etc. Vineyard to the north.
  • PA3: Fruit trees in the garden, climbers
  • PA1: Trees, some grapevines beside the house
  • PA9: Starting to thin the young deciduous forest and plant in trees and climbers
  • PA10: Planting forest trees: Siberian Larch, European Beach, Sugar Maple etc

Method of planting

In 2014-15 we planted the trees by digging a hole in the soil which was filled with material from elsewhere (lighter soil from our building site, peat soil, manure compost). We used carton to suppress weeds (mainly grasses) and saw dust or bark mulch for mulching and forming a small mound. The problem with this method in a heavy clay soil is that when wet (large part of the year) the hole keeps excess water and the roots of the plant are water clogged. The hole should be drained.

So we changed to a system where the tree is planted on a mound. So I simply put a carton on the field (normally on the grass), break a hole in the middle so the tree roots have access downwards, put one big wheelbarrow of soil on the carton and plant the tree there. I add mulch (saw dust or bark mulch, a bit of compost). This method seems to work much better for the trees and bushes. In 2022 most trees also got some biochar.


Below are methods and actions in use 2015-2021


Irrigation of the trees and bushes is necessary in the year or planting and following year. In longer periods of draught watering also older trees is beneficial or necessary depending on situation. I wrote the “Water and making ponds” design parallel to this design and a more efficient design for irrigation is a part of that. Until now the main water sources have been the surrounding ditches in spring and early summer (until they dry out) and circulated water from our waste water willow system. The later also contains nutrients. Closer to the house also collected rainwater and well water are used.

Mowing grass
The route that needs to be mowed in black: appr. 460 meters with 1-3 rows depending on place.

The trees and bushes are mostly on small mounds ( with carton underneath) with sawdust or bark mulch. Nevertheless it is necessary to mow the surroundings of the trees (appr 1 meter around each tree) and paths to suppress grass growth and for accessibility. Currently the route that has to be mowed is about 460 meters. In some part it is just a path for access but in some parts there is 3-4 rows of trees. Total mowed area is close to 2000 m2. Currently the mowing is done with a Husqvarna 536 LIRX trimmer. 2 batteries give appr. 1 hour effective trimming time. Going through the whole route takes 10-15 hours and it has to be done several times per summer unless there is a draught. A less time consuming mowing method needs to be put in place.

Corylus hybrids planted on carton and mound of lighter soil. On top sawdust mulch. June 2021.

A thick layer of saw dust or bark is added around each tree when planting it. We receive hardwood sawdust from an artisan furniture manufacturer in closeby Fiskars village. The benefit of using hardwood sawdust is that mushrooms grow better on it. On the other hand bark mulch might better accelerate the transition from grass field to a perennial forest garden system. Bark is more expensive than sawdust. The mulching has to be renewed every 2-3 years at least in early days of the forest garden.


Mowing the grass and mulching have the function of suppressing weeds – mainly the perennial grasses. If grass isn’t mowed it spreads into the mulch much faster than if it is kept short. The protective net around the trees prevents trimming the weeds inside it so either the net has to be temporarily moved or that part has to be weeded manually. When trees grow also protective nets have to be higher which makes weeding from above impossible without removing the net.


We have a high density of whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and also hare (Lepus europaeus). As we have not fenced the whole area each tree needs to be individually protected with a net fence. We also have voles (field vole: Microtus agrestis and water vole: Arvicola amphibius). Voles have destroyed trees (the roots) in our garden, but trees that have been planted on mounds on the field don’t seem to be their target. Our dog is a great mole hunter.

Integration => dogs, predators, hunting

Fertilising and liming

Fertilising the trees has been irregular. Sometimes I add a spade of composted manure to the planting mound but more often I don’t. My aim has been to add a spade of composted manure to each tree once a year in the spring or early summer, but in practise it has been irregular. We use water from the willow waste water system for watering the trees and that contains nutrients. It hasn’t been analysed however. The cuttings from trimming the grass is generally left in place. Occasionally I shred willow, alder and poplar into mulch and add it under the trees. Some nitrogen fixing trees have been planted in or between the rows (alders; Alnus sp, sea buckthorn; Hippophaë rhamnoides and Siberian peashrub; Caragana arborescens.

pH in our fields is below 6 (5,8-5,9) so it is not critically low but liming would benefit most perennials. However liming has been sporadic when planting. As we heat our house with wood and have a sauna, we produce ash that is used in cultivation. Generally I add some ash around the trees when I have it available.

Integration => energy (ash), manure from the local farmer MR who leases our fields, making compost.

2.4. Limits, borders and resources

The Iso-orvokkiniitty site has been described in earlier articles including property borders, soil and climatic conditions, sectors etc. A few observations specific to the Forest Garden design.

Time and money

Time and money are usually the standard limiting factors in any design or project. At the moment we are only two people at Iso-orvokkiniitty and both have work outside the site. Erkki is mostly on site but working from his home-office and due to covid since 2020 is not travelling much. Marja is involved in a garden landscape design business in which most customers are in the Helsinki metropolitan area so has less time on the site. How to create more working hours on the site will be part of the Social Design.

Money is less of a problem but of course always a limiting factor as well. Quite a large investment has been already made in the forest garden in the form of buying plants, fencing material etc. (I will make an estimate later.)

(I think I need to write about Time&Money somewhere else and then refer to it as it is relevant for all designs – not only forest garden.)


The climate conditions have been discussed in “60 degrees North, 23 East“. Climate is a limiting factor anywhere but especially here in Finland. On the other hand the climate is changing and especially Growing Degree Days above 5°C has already increased and will probably increase dramatically in the coming decades. We are also “moving south” in terms of hardiness zones but that change will not be as dramatic because cold winters and cold spells are still possible. In any case a lot of forest garden enthusiasts including us are planting trees that were earlier thought to be impossible to grow in Finland.


Limits to species we can or makes sense to plant are determined by

  • Climate (GDD5°, hardiness zones, moisture etc)
  • Availability of different species and varieties
  • What we know about different species and varieties
  • Our aims (preference for ediple species)

Plants and Propagation

So far we have mostly purchased plants from nurseries or private persons in Finland, some have been bought from nurseries in Latvia and some – especially hazel nut cultivars – ordered from European nurseries.

My experience in propagation is still limited. I need to develop.

The property 

Water and Soil

Soil has been covered in the “Iso-orvokkiniitty: the site” article.

Water sectors have been covered in “Evaluation and site analysis 1: Sectors” and there is a separate Design about Water and making ponds.

We have been closely following developments in the “Soil Wide Web” “movement”. The insights from Elaine Ingham &co offer new possibilities to study and follow the biological activity and life in the soils f.ex. with microscope.

Conclusions and Integration:

  • Our soils on the field are heavy clay and in parts water-logged which limits possibilities to plant trees and requires planting on mounds as described earlier.
  • The more elevated forest patches are clay silts.
  • It is beneficial to improve the soils with organic matter (mulching), rock phosphates, lime and ash.
  • Adding forest soil to the mounds when planting presumably improves development of natural mychoriza and the transformation of field soil to a more permanent fungi dominated forest soil.
  • The ponds and the forest garden have several integration points:
    • possibility for irrigation
    • root access to water by nearby trees
    • more favorable microclimate
    • reflected light on the north side of the ponds
    • shading the ponds decreases algae growth
    • coniferous trees should are preferable close to the pond as they produce less leaves / less organic matter into the ponds
Zones, Sectors and Planning Areas
Our limits
  • Aspects of forest garden design can be used in all parts of our property including both what is currently field and the young forest in PA9 and PA10.
  • A clear limitation compared to literature from other temperate climate regions is that we are relatively north in terms of hardiness zones and temperature sums. However within Finland we are in one of the climatically most favourable regions.
  • We are economically in a good position so we can buy plants even though in mid-term perspective it is desirable to propagate more ourselves.
  • We are in good health and capable of physical work for the time being but due to age that will gradually change.
  • We have chosen a relatively low level of mechanisation on the site; f.ex. we don’t have a tractor.
  • We are not young so it would be nice to see results of the forest garden development in our lifetimes (20-30 years?).

3. Evaluate

3.1. Our Needs

I wrote about “Our Needs” in “Design 2: Buildings and Energy systems“. To what needs does a Forest Garden relate? In our case we are developing a mostly Ediple Forest Garden so obviously we are planning to cover some of our need for food from the forest garden on the long run. But a forest garden is also a long term experiment so there are other reasons to develop a forest garden than just the need for food. It meets also environmental needs of developing “protective, nurturing, and aesthetically pleasing environments” and cognitive needs of understanding how it could work. Surely there are also emotional, psychological and needs of self-actualisation that are taken care of by developing a forest garden.

3.2. PMI

Iso-orvokkiniitty Forest Garden June 2022

Plus MinusInteresting
We have field suitable for forest gardenHigh workload in establishing forest gardenDevelop a productive ediple forest garden
Plant material can be boughtLack of people / time to plantExperiment with new “exotic” tree species
High number of plants and species already planted since 2015Difficult to transfer a field into a forest. Maintenance needed in the meantime
Guilds have not been developed yetManaging a complex system
Knowledge intensive: takes time to digestWe have young forest that can be transformed to forest garden
Growing trees takes timeMore and more possibilities to demonstrate forest garden year by year
Limited infra for workshopsArrange courses, workshops etc

3.3. Elements and Functions, Inputs and outputs

I did a Systems – Functions – Elements analysis (in Miro) with the Forest Garden in the focus but including other relevant systems that interact. It includes Inputs and Outputs to/from the system.

Forest Garden main elements and functions

ElementFunctionNeeds (other elements or functions)
All plantsDepending on species:
– photosynthesis (energy for other living beings)
– ediple crops (nuts, fruits, berries, etc)
– nitrogen fixing
– mineral accumulator
– nectar, pollen, mildew for pollinators
– fungal interactions
– soil cover
– naturally occurring or external plant material (seedlings, seed)
– sun
– nutrients
– fungal and microbial interactions (soil)
– water
– harvesting
– pollinators
– other plants
Trees, bushes, hedges– Wood for different uses
– Nesting places
– Wind shield
– Shade
Grassground coverneeds to be mown
Fences and netsprotectionneed to be put up and maintained
Soilsubstrate for plantingsoil (external), topsoil, manure, compost, mulch, biochar, microbial preparations, ash
Compostsoil improvementkitchen waste, dry toilet manure, green plant material (weeds and grass), straw, wood chips, etc
Pathsmobility in the forest gardenmulch: sawdust, bark

The analysis illustrates the complexity of the Forest Garden, how much interaction there is between elements (only part of them shown) and between the different systems. Outputs of one part of the system are inputs to an other part or to an other system that is present. Some external inputs are needed but that should be minimised.

External Inputs to the Forest Garden

External InputSourceComments and could it be replaced?
Plant material– Domestic plant schools
– Plant schools abroad
– Seedling exchange
– Commercial Seed material
– Collected seed material
– Seed exchange
– On the longer run we could propagate plants that we already have but species and breeds we don’t have need to come from outside.
– Buying and exchanging with other forest garden and permaculture enthusiasts supports the movement.
Soil for plantinglocal farmer– We ran out of topsoil from our building site and since then have bought a few tractor loads of soil for planting trees and perennials. It is not an ideal solution but difficult to replace. We would need to ramp up our compost production massively.
Mulching material– Deciduous saw dust from a local carpenter workshop.
– Bark
– Tree leaves from the neighbour
– Used mycelium substrate from local co
– We use both saw dust and bark to mulch plantings of trees, bushes and perennials and to cover pathways in the forest garden. Saw dust is cheaper but bark is the preferred mulching material.
– We use deciduous saw dust to enhance fungal growth
– Replace by producing mulch from own material:
– willow from the willow waste water system
– young trees and bushes that are cleaned away from ditches and forest edges etc
– branches left over from forest work (if close enough)
ManureOrganic farmer who leases our fields– He harvests hay from the fields we lease to him and brings manure to use, usually 1 tractor load per year. Mainly horse or sheep manure semicomposted with peat.
– We use it when planting trees and perennials, in the garden and in compost
– We need to ramp up our compost production
Microbial preparationsCommercial or local networks– Commercial could be mycorrhizal preparations or rhizobium bacteria preparations but so far we have not used them
– fungal preparations from local networks
– low tech propagation of saprophytic fungi
Fencing, Net Hardwarestore– net used for fencing either individual trees and bushes or small cultivation areas (our annual vegetables garden, vineyard, the coniferous forest garden)
– build traditional “riukuaita” from spruce
Mowing equipmentHardwarestore– a robot mower for keeping the grass short in areas where we have planted trees.
– a battery driven trimmer, needs trimming line that is plastic (biodegradable was available in 2020-21)
– both use electricity that we generate with solar.
– mow and trim only where and when necessary

Internal Inputs to the Forest Garden

Internal InputOutput ofComments
Our own plant materialPlants Could develop into a plant school for exchange and even sales
MulchWillow system, forest, forest edgesan electric shredder; solar electricity
CompostComposting systemPlant material from the site, manure from outside
Rotten logsMushroom cultivationAfter 4-6 years of shiitake or other mushroom production, used in raised beds
Tree trunksWoods in field edges and ditchesBuild edges for raised beds
Microbial preparationsForest topsoil, Compost, Mushroom – self-made fungal preparations from mushroom fruiting bodies
– forest top soil
– compost teas etc
PollinationHoneybees and wild pollinatorsRewilding bees

Outputs from the Forest Garden

Ediples, herbs, medicinalsPlants
Fruits, berries, nuts, leaves, herbs, etc
Pollen, nectar, resins etcPlantsFor the Honeybees and wild pollinators
Propagation materialPlantsCould become a plant school
LeavesPlantsfor mulch and compost
Wood materialTrees and bushesMulch, poles, fire wood etc
Habitat for wildlifeEverythingSome come fast, some will take hundreds of years

3.4. What we have vs Our Vision and the Theoretical framework

Our Vision


We have already started working towards points 1. and 2. in our Vision. We have taken very little action towards the 3rd point or the infrastructure for implementing it. This requires simultaneous work with the People part of the Iso-orvokkiniitty Permaculture Design.


On the fields we should work towards moving the permanent grass fields into Stage 2 in forest succession (pioneer species appear) and Stage 3 (growing young forest) in the forest succession. We are forced to accelerate the process by planting desirable trees, bushes and perennials and suppressing the grass. This we have already started.

We will also develop a forest garden in the existing young forest that is in later Stage 3 in succession. It requires thinning the young forest into a productive woodland. This can involve saving ediple species (hazel nut, rowan, bird cherry (Prunus padus)), nitrogen fixers (alder, korpipaatsama) and planting desirable species instead. This has also been started in small scale.

Forest architecture

Windbreak in PA5 and along the road in PA6

Planting the windbreak with a few alders Alnus glutinosa started in 2014.

Windbreaks are necessary on all boundaries if they don’t already exist in the form of forest, but especially protection from prevailing winds (W – SW in our case) and north winds is important. Jacke (CFG p. 99) lists several benefits from wind breaks including increase in temperatures and decrease in evaporation resulting in 10-30% higher yields even if not taking into account the yield from the wind protecting hedge itself. Other benefits are mineral accumulation, food for pollinators, ediple and other useful products, shelter for wildlife etc. On the other hand root competition right beside the hedge can be so strong that you can’t expect a good yield in other crops there.

The hedge gives protection to 8 times it’s height so in a short term realistic 3 meter high hedge extends protection 24 meters from the hedge. The ‘quiet zone’ will be further extended if there is a second hedge further away. According to Jacke (CFG p.103) the windbreak should be as dense as possible and as vertical facing the wind as possible. Turbulence behind the windbreak is only relevant after the ‘quiet zone’ and can be avoided with a second windbreak in the ‘wake zone’ (the zone after the ‘quiet zone’).

In the case of our windbreak in the north edge PA5 combined with the trees and bushes on the roadside in PA 6 and the willow system in PA4 will protect most of the northern half of the site once the trees and bushes are 2-4 metres in height.

We started planting the north-side windbreak in 2014-15 and have continued planting up till 2021. Now the windbreak consists of a variety of trees and bushes.

  • Potential canopy trees are the Alder Alnus glutinosa, Turkish Hazel Corylus cornuta, Black Spruce Picea mariana, Red maple Acer rubrum, Rowan Sorbus aucuparia, Apple Malus domestica, Malus baccata, Oak Querqus rubra.
  • Large shrubs (4-9 meters)(5): Crataegus, Amelanchier alnifolia
  • Shrubs up to 3-4 meters: Corylus avellana, C. rubra, Hippophae rhamnoides, Syringa vulgaris, Caragena arborescens
  • Small shrubs (1-3 meters): Aronia mitschurinii

All of what has been planted are trees and bushes which should grow to at least 3 meters height and represent either the “tree or shrub canopy” or the “understory tree and shrub layers”. The Herb and ground layers and Vines haven’t been developed.

Alnus sp, Caragena and Hippophae are N-fixers and accumulators. Towards the west side a few more should be planted, and as it is pretty wet Alnus glutinosa would be the safest bet.

Planting nuts in PA8

The field that is Planning Area 8, SW from the house, has a stretch of willows growing in the ditch closer to the Varkalahdentie road and a patch of Alder Alnus incana further south. The SE edge of the field is a planted spruce hedge (on neighbours side) about 15 metres high with several deciduous trees growing in the ditch on our side. The spruce shade this part of the field quite strongly. On the east side is our young deciduous forest (PA9).

Planting Hazel Nuts and sweet Rowan hybrids on the SW edge of the PA8 field started in 2018 – 2019 as 2 rows about 4 meters apart following the ditch. In 2020 I started planting trees along the contour lines on the southern part of the field. In 2021 some trees and bushes were added between the Hazel Nut rows. Some of the hazels – bought from Zalenieku Kokaudzetava in Latvia – are grafted. Most hazels have been bought in cooperation with Joel Rosenberg and Juha Ujula and the Finnish Nut Project.

Apart from local and Latvian hazelnuts and 2 hazels from Pölli Institute in Estonia, I have so far (2021) planted 18 hazelnut name varieties (by end of 2021), American-European-Asian hybrids and other Corylus species: C. americana, C. cornuta, C. colurna, C. av. fuscorubra. See list of varieties in Hazelnuts.

Juglans hybrid planted in 2016 from Vakkataimi. September 2021.

From Juglandaceae (Juglans, Carya) we have planted since 2015 several Juglans hybrids from Vakkataimi, several Juglans regia‘s from Vakkataimi, Zalenieki (Ideal) and several Loiko variants from Philipp Weiss, Juha Ujula, Vakkataimi and Joel Rosenberg as well as the mystical Inkoo origin and a Dobele/Upitis origin from Joel. These have been planted in 2019-2021. Also we have several J. ailanthifolia v.cordiformis (herttajalopähkinä), J. cinerea (including trees that have naturally propagated in Vihti), J. nigra. Also several Carya illinoensis, C. laciniosa, C. ovata have been planted (all from Vakkataimi) but they have not performed very well so far.

Other nut trees that we have planted include Castanea sativa, C.x Neglecta, Morus alba, Quercus bicolor, Staphylea pinnata.

Planting fruit trees in the Potager garden in PA3

The triangle where we started the garden in 2014 will be designed by Marja into a Potager garden. There are already several fruit trees and bushes planted there but we lost several in the winter 2021-22. The raised beds were made in 2014-15 and need renovation.


Along the road in PA6 we have planted trees and bushes and in some parts also perennials . Especially in PA8 I have so far been in a hurry to plant the tree layer so there is not a lot of guilding yet. What has been started in 2022 will be presented below.

11 Design principles by Bill Mollison. Credit to Doug Crouch in TreeYo Permaculture .

4. Design

4.1. Principles

4.1.1. Mollison

Doug Crouch in TreeYo Permaculture summarises nicely the 11 principles Bill Mollison presents in the Chapters 2  & 3 in Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. I am using them here as a check list.

BM PrincipleThis Design
1. Relative Location Input – output analysis of main elements
2. Each element performs many functionsSystems, Elements and Functions analysis
3. Each Important Function is Supported by Many ElementsSystems, Elements and Functions analysis
4. Efficient Energy PlanningMost energy input relates to planting the forest garden in the form of the footprint of the materials brought in (external inputs). Energy for maintaining is small and mainly human work or battery driven equipment (ecological footprint there-off).
– Zone PlanningThe forest garden is mainly in zone 3 as it doesn’t require regular visits.
– Sector PlanningWater, sun, soil and wind sectors are taken into account.
– SlopeOnly moderate slopes, relates mainly to water and soil.
5. Using Biological Resources
– Animal tractors– Sheep have been considered as a mowing solution but so far has been deemed not practical in our situation. Lack of barn, lack of human commitment.
– Chicken tractor could be considered in the future but not topical for the time being. Requires its own design where the main challenge is winter maintanence of the chicken in an off-grid situation.
– Pest Control– Developing biodiversity
– Developing soil health
– Fencing and protecting tree trunks
– Fertilizers– manure, compost
6. Energy Cycling– Using equipment with solar (all summer electricity here is solar)
– Pumping water with solar
– Eventually fire wood from the forest garden
7. Small Scale Intensive SystemsDesigning guilds
8. Accelerate Succession and Evolution– Planting trees and bushes on the field.
– bringing in species and breeds from elsewhere for more efficient growth and production
– growing seedlings from our own seeds (possible cross-breeds)
9. Diversity– bringing in species and breeds from elsewhere for more efficient growth and production
– creating different micro biotypes and micro climates including water systems
– supporting pollinators and other “critters”
10. Edge Effects:developing field – forest edges
11. Attitudinal Principles– Problem is the Solution
– The Yield is Theoretically Unlimited
– Work with Nature, Not Against
– Everything Gardens
– Least Change for the Greatest Effect

4.1.2. Planetary Boundaries

See “My Permaculture Design Pathway“.

Earth-system processWhat can we do? 
1. Climate change1. Climate mitigation: sequester carbon in the forest garden
2. Climate adaptation: plant species that can survive in the changing climate
3. Climate change benefits: plant ediple plants that can benefit of a warmer climate
2. Biodiversity loss– bringing in species and breeds from elsewhere for more efficient growth and production
– creating different micro biotypes and micro climates including water systems
– supporting pollinators and other “critters”
3. BiogeochemicalRely on on-farm or circulated nutrients
4. Ocean acidificationLimit nutrition leaching and erosion
5. Land useWe are increasing diversity of land use.
6. FreshwaterWe are using fresh water for irrigation when necessary. Freshwater itself is not a critical limiting factor in our conditions. 
7. Ozone depletionno effect presumed
8. Atmospheric aerosolsno effect presumed
9. Chemical pollutionWe avoid all chemical pollution including micro plastics (avoid using plastic in cultivation systems in general). 

4.1.3. Yeoman

See “My Permaculture Design Pathway“.

Can we and will we affect the different levels of the permanence?

  1. Climate: We will invest fossil fuels in the design mainly in transport of inputs and ecological footprint of purchased equipment. Can we compensate (or more) that with carbon sequestration in vegetation in the forest garden?
  2. Landshape: No effect.
  3. Water Supply: No effect.
  4. Roads/Access: Paths in the forest garden.
  5. Trees: Yes, trees is the whole point.
  6. Soil: We promote a transition of the soil from a grassland soil to a fertile humus rich woodland soil.
  7. Structures: No effect.
  8. Subdivision Fences: So far fencing individual trees and bushes or small groups of trees. More extensive fencing is considered to protect agains deer.

4.1.4. Crawford

Crawford doesn’t present design principles as such but in his Agroforestry Research Trust website he writes

“The primary aims for the [forest gardening] system are:

  • To be biologically sustainable, able to cope with disturbances such as climate change
  • To be productive, yielding a number (often large) of different products
  • To require low maintenance.”

“The key features which contribute to the stability and self-sustaining nature of this [forest gardening] system are:

  • The large number of species used, giving great diversity.
  • The careful inclusion of plants which increase fertility, such as nitrogen fixers (eg. Alders [Alnus spp], Broom [Cytisus scoparius], Elaeagnus spp, and shrub lupins [Lupinus arboreus]).
  • The use of dynamic accumulators – deep rooting plants which can tap mineral sources deep in the subsoil and raise them into the topsoil layer where they become available to other plants, eg. Coltsfoot [Petasites spp], Comfreys [Symphytum spp], Liquorice [Glycyrrhiza spp], Sorrel (and docks!) [Rumex spp].
  • The use of plants specially chosen for their ability to attract predators of common pests, eg umbellifers like tansy.
  • The use, where possible, of pest and disease resistant varieties, eg. apples.
  • The increasing role of tree cover and leaf litter which improve nutrient cycling and drought resistance.”

4.1.5. Jacke

Also Jacke in EFG 1&2 doesn’t address design principles as such. However in Chapter 4: “Design Processes 2: The Design Phase” (OFG 2, p.231-) he “develops the crucial ideas to successfully complete a forest garden plan” (p231).

The four stages of the design phase (p232) (/shortened by me):

  • Design Concept
    • Summarises the organising idea or site specific vision for the design
  • Schematic Design
    • focuses on overall layout, patterning, and relationships between functions and elements as well as approximate sizes, shapes and locations
    • rough bubble diagrams
  • Detailed Design
    • deals with exact sizes, shapes, locations, and architecture of features, elements, and patches
    • clean line drawings with notes etc
  • Patch Design
    • design at detailed level

The four realms of forest garden design (p234):

  • infrastructure: garden features, functions, and elements, including beneficial animal habitat elements
  • vegetation architecture: habitat design
  • vegetation dynamics: succession design
  • social structure: guild and polyculture design

4.2. The Forest Garden Design

4.2.1. The Schematic design

The Vision was defined in the beginning of this article.

The Planning areas of Iso-orvokkiniitty were presented in the article “Evaluation and Site Analysis 3: Planning Areas” Here, for the purpose of the Forest Garden design, I have added Planning area PA9a which consists of the young forest south from the house (partly in PA1 and PA9).

The areas that are relevant for the Forest garden design are

  • PA3: The Potager garden SW below our house. Includes already fruit trees, berry bushes and perennial vegetables. This will be a separate design.
  • PA4: W and NW of sauna. Includes already fruit trees along the road and Jutland and apple closer to the forest edge.
  • PA5: The windbreak towards the north, includes already tens of trees and bushes.
  • PA6: Along the road, includes already mainly berry bushes with some trees planed wide apart (Tila, Acer, Quercus)
  • PA7: The area around the pond is included in “Design 1: Water and making ponds” -design, but I am including a coniferous forest plan here.
  • PA8: The main forest garden planting area.
  • PA9a: Young forest south of the house.

In this design I will mainly look at PA8 and PA9a.

Bubble diagram of the main (pathches) areas in the Forest Garden Design.

The main areas (patches) in the Forest Garden Design are:

  • HG: Hazelnut grove. Mainly hazelnuts planted in 2 rows along the ditch.
  • WM: Wet Meadow. Mainly left open with a few trees and bushes planned.
  • NG: Nut guilds. Area planted with various nut trees and bushes and guild developments.
  • MS: Morning Shade. Meadow shaded until afternoon by the forest in NE and the tall spruce fence to the SE.
  • IFG: Intensive Forest Garden. Area planted with more sensitive species and including the wine yard.
  • YF: Young Forest. Young deciduous forest with a few trees and climbers planted.
  • CF: Coniferous Forest: Conifers and acid soils north of the Big Pond.

4.2.2. Detailed Design and Patch Design

From EFG2, p248:

Detailed Design

  • Create an accurate layout diagram coordinating patches, planting beds, paths, and other infrastructure layout and functions. Accurately design the sizes, shapes, and locations of infrastructure, patches and essential species already chosen. Characterise architecture, guild functions, management needs and site conditions of each patch in more detail.
  • Refine and further develop budget estimates based on your detailed design plan.
  • If you have a long and complex succession, select one or two critical succession phases prior to the horizon from your schematic timeline. Use your detailed layout diagram for the horizon time as a base to create overlays depicting the patch patterns and charecteristics of earlier successional phases you chose.
  • Complete your species palette. First, summarise species selection criteria based on the characteristics of the patches as defined in your design plan. Then select additional species for the patch purposes and guild functions left unfilled by your initial species selections in schematic design.

Patch Design

  • Design each patch: species, patterning and spacing: successional timeline if needed; site preparation and establishment scheme; specific maintanence requirements; an so on. Use the polyculture design tools appropriate to your guild and polyculture design strategy.
  • Complete final infrastructure construction details if needed: exact size, shape, colour, texture, materials, construction and edge treatments.
  • Finalise site preparation and establishment staging plans for the whole garden once all patches are designed.
  • Compile a master list of plants and other materials needed to establish the garden. Finalize budget estimates.

HG: Hazelnut grove. Mainly hazelnuts planted in 2 rows along the ditch.

Here in the “Hazelnut Grove” the original design idea was simple: to plant hazelnuts in rows along the main ditch. The first batch of seedlings I bought on a visit to Latvia from the plant school Zaleniuku Kokaudezetava in 2018. All their hazelnuts – except the local wild hazelnut – are grafted on Turkish hazelnut C. colurna rootstock so they should eventually grow like small trees. So far it is not very obvious but will become more visible when the trees grow. Zalanieku also had a huge range of Sorbus hybrids of which I took GRANATNAJA, KRASAVICA, BURKA, LIKORNAJA all of which should become small 3-5m high trees and produce berries. The hazelnuts that were planted in 2019 and 2020 were ordered in connection with the Pähkinähanke (Nut Project) and they were ordered from plant schools in Ireland, Germany and Poland (many of them planted in NG). As some of the hazelnuts died some other trees were planted instead, f.ex. some random apple trees (from a schools grafting class). The planting distance between trees was appr. 3m and the distance between the 2 rows 4m. In order to plant denser and get more of the bush layer in the area a selection of bushes (Crataegus, Syringa, Amelanchier, Malus Purpurea, Aronia) were planted between the rows in 2020 and 2021. The grass is kept down by mowing.

Drone photo of Hazel nut grove on 26.9.2022

Plant List: Hazelnut Grove

Plant list
(from NW to SE)
Row 1 (closest to ditch in SW)Middle rowRow 2
0Crataegus -19
1Sorbus GRANATNAJA -18ZKCrataegus -19Crataegus -19
2C.av. Krasnaja Smolina -18ZKMalus Purpurea -20C.av. Latvian local -18ZK
3C.av. Webbs Prize -19FNC.av. local -18
4C.av. Latvian local 2018ZKCrataegus -20C.av. Krasnaja Smolina -18ZK
5Sorbus KRASAVICA 2018ZKC.av. Pervenec -18ZK
6Malus domestica (Dwarf?) 2019Malus Purpurea -20C. cornuta -21VT
7C.av. Halls Giant -19FNCaragana arborescens -21C.av. local -22
8Sorbus BURKA 2018ZKC. Maxima -18ZK
9Crataegus 2019Amelanchier alnifolia -20C.av. Gustav Mahler -18ZK
10C.av. Halls Giant -19-C. heterophylla x C. avellana -20JR
11C.av. Lange Zellernus -19LUMalus Purpurea -20C. colurna -21VT
12Sorbus LIKORNAJA -18ZKMalus domestica ‘Punainen Kaneli’ -19
13Malus domestica ‘Antonovka’ -19Amelanchier alnifolia -20C.av. Pervenec -18ZK
14C.av. Webb’s Prize -19FNMalus Purpurea -20C.av. Moskovskij Rubin -18ZK
15C.av. Nottingham -19FNC. colurna -21VT
16Sorbus GRANATNAJA -18ZKSyringa vulgaris -21Malus domestica ‘?’ -19
17C.av. Webb’s Prize -19FNAmelanchier alnifolia -21C. Maxima 2018ZK
18C.av. Halls Giant -19FNAmelanchier alnifolia -21C. cornuta -21VT
19WARRÉ BEEHIVESyringa vulgaris -21Juglans regia ‘Samok 1’ -21VT
20C.av. Nottingham -19FNSyringa vulgaris -21C.av. local -18
21Corylus “Asian Quebec” -21JRAronia Prunifolia -21C. cornuta -18ZK
22C.av. Halls Giant -19FN
23Corylus Isofilbert -21VTC. av. Mogulnuss -21JU
24C.av. Cosford -19FNC. av. Lange Zellernus -20OR
25C.av. Nottingham -20ORC. av. Cosford -20OR
26Tilia japonica -22VTC. av. Katalonski -20OR
27Tilia amurensis -22VT
-18= year of planting
Origins of plant material.

Infrastructure: garden features, functions, and elements, including beneficial animal habitat elements

The infrastructure in HG consists of:

  • steps connecting the mowed path to the path which goes around the Big Pond (in brown)
  • the mowed path which goes through the whole Forest Garden area (in green)
  • the ditch that was directed to the Big Pond in 2021 (in blue)
  • bridge over the ditch (in black)
  • beehives (yellow) in the NW end of the area and in the shadow of the alders in SE

Vegetation architecture: habitat design

The five elements of forest architecture: vegetation layers, soil horizons, vegetation density, vegetation patterning and ecosystem diversity, define the characteristics of any habitat (EFG2 p235). Today the Hazelnut grove is a shrubland and as the planted trees grow it should develop into a Woodland.

Forest architecture elements starting point202220302040
main characteristicsgrasslandshrublandshrublandwoodland
vegetation layers– Grass
– a row of alder and willow in the ditch part of the way to the SW < 10m high
– Grass
– bush layer planted between the rows 2021-22
– 1-4 year old hazelnut and others, most 1-2m high
– a row of alder and willow in the ditch part of the way to the SW < 10m high
– Grass suffering from shading, other ground-cover plants emerging
– bush layer between the rows 1-3 m high
– Appr. 10 year old hazelnut and others, most 3-4m high
– a row of alder and willow in the ditch part of the way to the SW < 10m high
– Woodland ground-cover plants established
– bush layer between the rows 2-3 m high, suffering from shading
– Appr. 20 year old hazelnut and others, most 5-6m high
– Tree crowns partly interlocking
– a row of alder and willow in the ditch part of the way to the SW < 10m high
soil horizons– Heavy clay soil with 10-15 cm topsoil formed by permanent grass – Heavy clay soil with 10-15 cm topsoil formed by permanent grass
– Trees and bushes planted on mounds of lighter soils and mulched
– Mulch added almost annually around trees resulting in higher humus in topsoil and abundance of saprophytic fungi
– Mycorizal fungi developing
– Tree root systems fetching nutrients and water from deeper subsoil
– Increasing production of tree leaves creates natural mulch on topsoil
vegetation density– Grassland which was cut annually– Grass has to be controlled by mowing
– planted trees and bushes mostly 2-3 m apart
– Tree and bush crowns are not interlocking yet– Tree and bush crowns are interlocking
– Bush layer shadowed by tree layer
vegetation patterning– Edge effect towards ditch to SW and alder+willow row – edge effect towards the ditch leading to Big pond
– edge effect towards the mound that encircles the Big pond
– edge effect towards the grassland to NE and Nutgrove All the previous
ecosystem diversity

Vegetation dynamics: succession design

Social structure: guild and polyculture design

NG: Nut guilds. Area planted with various nut trees and bushes and guild developments
Trees planted along the colour lines.

The initial idea in 2020 with the Nut Guilds area was to continue planting nut trees but instead of adding straight rows following the ditch, the idea was to follow the contour lines. But still the trees were planted in rows. Corylus sp. dominates also here but there are also Juglandacea and others (see list). In 2022 I started experimenting with some guilds including bushes and perennials.

Drone photo of Nut Guild area on 26.9.2022 at 16.20.
Plant List
(from SW to NE)
Row 1between 1 and 2Row 2Row 3Row 4
1Quercus bicolor ‘low tannin’ -21VTC. americana -21 VTCeltis -22VTCeltis -22VT
2Juglans regia ‘Belsad’ -21 VTC. av. Mogulnuss -21 JUCorlylus ”Liaozhen 3” -21JRC. av. Syrena -21NT
3Quercus bicolor ‘low tannin’ -21VTC. av. Webb’s Prize -20ORCorlylus ”Yuzhui” -21JRMorus albą -21NT
4Juglans cordiformis, Imshu mother -21 VTC. av. Garibaldi -20ORCorlylus ”Dermis” -21JRMorus albą Galicija -22
5Carya laciniosa ‘Hardy Mix’ -21 VTC. av. Katalonski -20ORCorlylus ”Liaozhen 3” -21JRMorus albą Galicija -22
6Carya ovata, Wenschke mother -21 VTCaragena arborescens -21C. av. Webb’s Prize -20ORCorlylus ”Skinner”  -21JRC. av. Warsaw Red -21JU
7Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica -22 ‘Wojtek’C. av. Katalonski -20ORCorlylus ”Wisconsin” -21JR
8Carya Illinois, Snaps mother -21 VTC. av. Cosford -20ORCorlylus ”Skinner” -21JR
9Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica ‘Karina’-22TTC. av. Lange Zellernuss -20ORCorlylus ”Liaozhen 3” -21JR
10Castanea x neglecta -21 VTC. av. Nottingham -20ORCornus sanguinea -22FLLonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica ‘Duet’ -22TT
11Lonicera caerulea kamtschatica ‘Duet’ -22TTC. av. Isofilbert -21VTCastanea mollissima -22VT
12Cornus sanguinea -22FLC. americana -21VTLonicera caerulea kamtschatica ‘Onni’ -22FL
13Castanea dentata -22VTCorlylus ”Yuzhui” -21 JR
14Lonicera caerulea kamtschatica ‘Ilo’ -22FLCorlylus ”Asian-Quebec” -21JR
15Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica ‘Karina’ -22TT Corlylus ”Yuzhui” -21 JR


WM: Wet Meadow. Mainly left open with a few trees and bushes planned.
Drone photo of Wet Meadow area on 26.9.2022

So far (end of 2022) no trees planted.

MS: Morning Shade. Meadow shaded until afternoon by the forest in NE and the tall spruce fence to the SE.
Drone photo of Morning Shade area on 26.9.2022

So far (end 2022) no trees planted.

IFG: Intensive Forest Garden. Area planted with more sensitive species and including the wine yard.
Plants in “Intensive Forest Garden”

The “Intensive Forest Garden” is a little bit mixed area that has been proved to be favourable even for more sensitive plants. It is the relatively highest point on our field but retains moisture throughout the summer even if there is draught. It is well protected from the north but also from the east. Eastern. protection can mean that the morning sun doesn’t warm the plants up too quickly after a cold night. The “Clean water pond” (See the Water and Ponds Design)brings a water element and additional light to the north and east side of the pond and stabilises temperature.

This area is also close to the main garden and “Potager” and acts as the entry point into the Forest Garden path. In 2021 I started to plant a winery.

Drone photo of Intensive Forest Garden area on 26.9.2022
NW corner above winery (NW=>SE)East side (N => S)West side below winery (NW=>SE)
?Juglans cinerea ‘Vihti’ -17HPStaphylea pinnata -21VT
Staphylea pinnata -21VTJuglans cinerea ‘Vihti’ -17HPStaphylea pinnata -21VT
Staphylea pinnata -21VTCastanea sativa -18ZKCastanea dentata ‘Michigan’ -22VT
Juglans regia Loiko II -21VTJuglans ailantifolia cordiformis Campbell CW1 -17VTLonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica ‘Onni’ -22TT
Cornus mas ‘Elegantnyj’ -21JUMorus albą ‘Mulle’ -21KRLonicera caerulea kamtschatica ‘Atut’ -22TT
Morus albą ‘Galicija’ -21Asimina triloba -21Juglans regia ‘Loiko’ -20PW
2 x Chaenomeles japonica -21Juglans regia ‘Youngs bi’ mother -17VTJuglans regia ‘Inkoo’ -20
Cornus kousa -21Castanea sativa -18ZKLonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica ‘Atut’ -22TT
Caragena aurantiaca -21Carya laciniosa -17VT
Cornus mas ‘Dublany’ -21JUCarya laciniosa -17VT
Morus acidosa ‘Mulle’ -21 KRMalus domestica -20
Ribes rubrum ‘Punainen hollantilainen’ -21
Ribes rubrum ‘Katri’ -21


In 2020 we planted 4 different grape varieties (Zilga, Varduva, Ciravas Agra, Somerset Seedless) in our Geodetic greenhouse which already produced a yield in 2021 and especially 2022, Zilga being the most productive. In 2022 I added a Siegerrebe and Edelweiss. In the pergola on the east wall of the house I planted Zing, Ziravas Agra and Varduva in 2020. In 2022 they grew quite well but haven’t produced yet.

I started planting the winery in 2021 and continued in 2022. By the end of 2022 I also managed to get the poles up for the cables so that the wines can grow on them in 2023. I also fenced the winery (it was temporarily fenced already 2021). Some of the trees and bushes mentioned above are inside the winery fence which makes it more feasible to plant perennials with them. 2 Schissandras have been planted in a grape row and other climbers will be included later (Hops, Actinidia etc) taking benefit also of the fence poles. In the grape rows I am planting strawberries which haven’t survived anywhere else in our garden due to deer. There are also different perennial Alliums in the rows.

The choice of varieties has been somewhat random depending mostly on what has been available. The location of the winery should be relatively favourable but not “super” favourable so we’ll see how the different varieties manage – some of them definitely being recommended for greenhouse. In any case it takes several years for them to start producing outdoors. In the winter 2021-22 I didn’t loose any.

noRow 1 (north) E=>WRow 2Row 3Row 4
1Rondo -21Hazaine Zladkii -21-23
2Fabel -21Hazaine Zladkii -21-23
3Swenssons Red -21Jubileinaja Novgoroda -21-23
4Ribes rubrumRondo -21Jubileinaja Novgoroda -21-23
5Hazaine Zladkii -21Fabel -21-23
6Ribes rubrumJubileinaja Novgoroda -21Beta -21-23
7Einset Seedless -21Beta -21-23
8Morus albą ‘Mulle’Einset Seedless -21Swenssons Red -21-23
9Schisandra chinensis Sadova no1 -21Kosmonaut -22JU-23
10-23Schisandra chinensis Sadova no1 -21Kosmonaut -22JU-23
11-23Rusbol -21Mars Seedless -22JU
12-23Rusbol -21Siegerrebe -22JU
13-23Edelweiss -22FRSupaga -22JU
14-23Rondo -22FR-23
15Valiant -21Fabel -22FR-23
16Valiant -21Beta -22FR
17Valiant -21
YF: Young Forest. Young deciduous forest with a few trees and climbers planted.
Drone photo of Young Forest area on 26.9.2022
North of roadSouth of road
Tripterygium regelii -20HL
Juglans regia ‘Ideal’ -18ZK
Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris ‘Mustila’ -19MP
Juglans regia -18ZKAralia elata -21VT


NoSortHow many+When+
Hazelnut varieties
1Cosford 1x -19 FN – HG
1x -20 OR – HG
1x 20OR – NG
2Garibaldi1x 20OR – NG
3Gustav Mahler1x 18ZK – HG
4Halls Giant3x 19 FN – HG
5Isofilbert1x 21 VT – HG
1x 21VT – NG
6Katalonski1x 20 OR _ HG
2x 20OR – NG
7Krasnaja Smolina2x -18 ZK – HG
8Lange Zellernus1x -19 LU – HG
1x -20 OR – HG
1x 20OR – NG
9Maxima2x -18 ZK – HG
10Mogulnus1x -21JU – HG
1x 21JU – NG
11Moskovskij Rubin1x -18ZK – HG
12Nottingham2x -19 FN – HG
1x – 20 OR – HG
1x 20OR – NG
13Pervenec2x -18ZK – HG
14Syrena1x -21NT – NG
15Warsaw Red1x -21JU – NG
16Webbs Prize3x -19 FN – HG
2x 20OR – NG
17Wunder aus Bollweiler
Other C. avellana types
18C. av. fuscorubra2x -15VT – PA5
19C. av. locals: Karjalohja, 2x -18 – HG
1x -22 – HG
20C. av. locals: Pölli, Estonia2x -15 – PA5
21C. av. locals: Zaleniuku, Latvia2x -18 ZK – HG
Corylus hybrids
22C. heterophylla x C. avellana 1x -20 JR HG
23C. heterophylla x C. avellana ‘Yuzhui’3x -21JR – NG
24Corylus ‘Asian Quebec1x -21 JR – HG
1x -21JR – NG
25C. heterophylla x C. avellana ‘Liaozhen’3x -21JR – NG
26Corylus ‘Dermis’1x -21JR – NG
27Corylus ‘Skinner’2x -21OR – NG
28Corylus ‘Wisconsin’1x -21JR – NG
Other Corylus species
29C. americana 2x -21VT – NG
30C. colurna2x -15VT – PA5
2x -21 VT – HG
31C. cornuta1x -18ZK – HG
2x -21 VT – HG


Juglans & Carya
NoSortHow many+When+
C. illinois ‘Ultra Northern’1x 15VT – PA4
C. illinois ‘Carlson mother’1x 15VT – PA4
C. illinois ‘Snaps mother’1x -21VT – NG
C. laciniosa ‘Isosie’, ‘Isop’2x -17VT – IFG
C. laciniosa ‘Hardy Mix’ 1x -21VT – NG
C. ovata ‘Wenshke mother’1x – 21VT – NG
Juglans hybrid2x -15VT – PA4label lost
J. ailanthifolia cordiformis ‘Imshu mother’1x -21VT -NG
J. ailanthifolia cordiformis ‘Campbell CW1’1x -17VT – IFG
J. cinerea ‘Vihti’ 2x -17HP – IFGnaturalised in Vihti
Juglans regia 1x -18ZK PA9a
J. regia ‘Belsad’ 1x -21VT – NG
Juglans regia ‘Ideal’ 1x -18ZK PA9a
J. regia ‘Inkoo’1x -20? – IFGmother tree is in Inkoo
J. regia ‘Loiko’1x -20PW – IFG
J. regia ‘Loiko II’ 1x -21VT – IFG
J. regia ‘Georgia’1x -19VT – POT
J. regia ‘Samok 1’1x -21VT – HG
J. regia ‘Youngs bi mother’1x -17VT – IFG
Maackia amurensis1x -19VT – POT


Other nuts
NoSortHow many+When+
C. dentata1x -21VT – NG
C. dentata ‘Michigan’1x -22VT – IFG
C x neglecta1x -21VT – NG
C. mollissima2x -22VT – NG
C. sativa 2x -18ZK – IFG
Q. bicolor ‘low tannin’2x -21VT – NG
Q. rubra 1x -20VT – PA4
Celtis 2x -22PT – NG
Staphylea pinnata3x – 21VT – IFG


Fruit trees
NoSortHow many+When+
Asimina triloba1x 21? – IFG
C. kousa 1x 21VT – IFG
C. mas ‘Dublany’ 1x -21JU – IFG
C. mas2x -16 PA6
C. mas ‘Elegantnyi’1x – 21JU – IFG
C. sanguinea2x -22FL – NG
Mespilus germanica 2x -16 – PA6
Hippophaë rhamnoides1x -16 – PA6
Hippophaë rhamnoides Pertsik1x -15 – PA6
Hippophaë rhamnoides Rudolf1x -16 – PA6
Hippophaë rhamnoides Raisa1x -16 – PA6
1x -15 – PA5
Malus baccata 1x -20 – PA5
1x -20 – PA6
Malus domestica4x -19 – PA5
3x -19 – HG
Malus ‘Huvitus’1x -16 – PA4 solnyshko died
Malus ‘Keltakaneli’1x -16 – PA4
Malus ‘Punainen kaneli’1x -19 – HG
Malus purpurea6x -19 – HG
M. acidosa ‘Mulle’2x -21KR – IFG
M. alba 1x -21NT – NG
M. alba ‘Galicija’ 2x -22? – NG
1x -21? – IFG
1x -21? – POT
P. armenica ‘Tsarskis mother’4x -19VT – POT


Sobus hybrids
Sorbus hybridsSizeWhere
BURKASorbus aucuparia x (Sorbus aria x Aronia arbutifolia) (STG p257)h=3m, w=2mHG 2018ZK
GRANATNAJASorbus aucuparia x Crataegus sanguinea (STG p257)h=3-5mHG 2018ZK
KRASAVICASorbus aucuparia x common pear (Mitsurin)
h=3-5mHG 2018ZK
LIKORNAJASorbus aucuparia x Aronia melanocarpa (STG p257)h=3-4mHG 2018ZK



NoSortHow many+When+
Amelanchier alnifolia2x -17 – PA5
2x -15VT – POT
2x -20 – NG
2x -21 – NG
11x -21 – PA5
Aronia mitchurinii2x -16 – PA5
6x -21 – PA5
1x -21 – HG
Chaenomeles japonica2x -21 – IFG
3x -21 – PA1 (earth cellar)
5x -22 – PA1 (upper yard)
4x -22 – POT
Crataegus grayana7x -20 – PA5
2x -20 – PA5
4x -19 – HG
1x -20 – HG
Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica
‘Atut’2x -22TT – IFG
‘Duet’2x -22TT – IFG
‘Ilo’1x – 22FL – IFG
‘Karina’2x -22TT – IFG
‘Onni’1x -22TT – IFG
1x -22TT – IFG
‘Wojtek’2x -22TT – NG
11x -17BL – PA6
Honeybee, Borealis, Jugana, Strezhevchanka4x -17BL – POT
R. nigrum9x -16 – PA6
R. nigrum ‘Venny’1x -15 – POT
R. rubrum ‘Katri’1x -21 – IFG
R. rubrum ‘Punainen hollantilainen’1x -21 – IFG
R. uva-crispa9x -16 – PA6



NoSortHow many+When+
Picea marina2x -20ML – PA5
Pinus cembra sp. cembra1x -22VT – PA7-C
Pinus koraiensis2x -22VT – PA7-C C= fenced coniferous area north of big pond.
Pinus pumila2x -22VT – PA7-C
Origins of Plant material

The Time Scale 

4.2.3. Fruits and Berries

4.2.4. The Nut Project 

4.2.5. Perennial Vegetables

4.2.6. Workshops and Courses 

4.3. Designing a Guild

The initial idea is to design Ediple Forest Garden Guilds on the field which is Zone 3-4/Planning Area 8 (EVALUATION AND SITE ANALYSIS 3: PLANNING AREAS). My purpose here is to design a Guild Template that can be used in the several Guilds that will be created in this area. The starting point can either be empty field or trees that were already planted but lack the other guild elements.

A sketch of a Forest Garden Guild. Each elliptic guild is about 10m x 7,5m and consists of 1 big tree, 2 small trees, 3 shrubs and several perennials.

Objective of the Guild: Guilds can have different Objectives and themes according to the main purpose of the Guild. For example:

  • Nut Guild
  • Fruit and Berry Guild
    • Traditional
    • Novelty
    • Exotic
  • Medicinal Guild
  • Salad Guild
  • Coniferous Guild

Limitations and solutions:

Permanent grassland with strong growth of perennial grasses, clovers, vickers, Ranunculus etc.Covering the whole Guild with carton (big cartons available from bicycle store). Planting on mounds, using different organic material for building raised beds, mulching with tree based mulch (bark, saw dust). Using mushroom logs in the mounds (integration with mushroom cultivation). Planting ground cover plants. Trimming when necessary.
Heavy clay soilPlanting on mounds, adding lighter material. Mulching. Biochar. Incorporating forest soil as source of mychoriza.
pH <6 to 6Increase pH with ash from our fireplaces.
Open to winds from W to N (existing windbreak and plantings are still rather small and offer limited protection)Plant native Alnus sp and Caragana as windshield on the north side of the guild. These can be removed/thinned later when not needed anymore.
Heavy foraging of dear and risk of rabbits and voles.Protect the guild with fencing. On the other hand our dog should have access for managing the voles.
Potential drought in June-July.Irrigation from ponds when plants are young.
General climatic limitations of 60°North in Southern Finland.Native species or plants well known to thrive should be used for supportive functions. Ediple plants can be also experimental and more exotic. Climate is changing with milder winters and increasing temperature sums.
More detailed template of forest garden guild.

On the plus-side soil structure is relatively good due to long history as grassland, clay soils have a high content of nutrients and the area is slightly sloping to the NW meaning that the soil is not water clogged in most of PA8. Digging the ponds and connecting ditches will improve drainage.

Available species and their niches and functions

The purpose here is not to give an exhaustive list of all possible plants but rather to propose a sufficient range of possible plants covering the different layers, niches and functions and contributing to the intentions.

Plant: ScientificFinnishEdipleN-fixerAccu-mulatorPoll. plantAromaticGround coverHeight m (5)Other
Big trees
Alnus glutinosa, A. incanaleppäXXx15-20
Acer spvaahterasap, flowersXx
Betula spkoivusapX
Carya illinoinensis, C. laciniosa, C. ovatahikkorit: pekaani, seitsikkohikkori, valkohikkorinutstakes 40 years before they produce nuts
Castanea sativa, C. dentatakastanjanuts
Fraxinus spsaarniX10-30
Salix caprearaitaXX6-14
Tilia splehmusleavesXX10-20
Pinus sibirica, cembra, koraiensismäntynuts
Prunus aviumimeläkirsikkafruit x
Small trees
Aralia elatapiikkiaraliashoots
Asimina trilobapapavifruit
Corylus colurnaturkinpähkinänuts
Cydonia oblongakvittenifruit, flowers
Diospyros virginiana, D. lotusamerikanpersimoni, taateliluumufruitx
Elaeagnus angustifoliaidänhopeapensasberriesxx
Hippophae ramnoidestyrniberriesX
Malus domesticaomenafruitx
Malus baccatamarjaomenapuufruit4-8
Mespilus germanicamispelifruit
Morus spmulperiberries
Picea marianamustakuusi9-15
Pinus pumilamäntynuts
Prunus armenicaaprikoosifruit
Prunus cerasushapankirsikkafruit x
Prunus domesticaluumufruit
Sorbus aucupariapihlajaberries4-12
Large shrubs
Caragena arborescenssiperianhernepensasXXX3-5
Castanea pumilanuts
Elaeagnus umbellatasarjahopeapensasberriesX
Corylus sppähkinäpensasnutsX
Hippophae rhamnoidestyrniberriesX2-5
Sambucus nigramustaseljafruitX
Syringa vulgarispihasyreeniX2-5
Alnus viridispensasleppä X
Amelanchier alnifoliamarjatuomipihlaja (saskatoon)fruit3-5
Small shrubs
Cytisus scopariusjänönvihmaX
Shepherdia argenteahopeapuhvelinmarjaXX
Pinus mugovuorimänty1-3
Aronia mitschuriniimarja-aroniaberries1-3
Perennials & herbs
Helianthus tuberosummaa-artisokkarootsX
Humulus lupulus

Guild typeBig treeSmall treeShrubEdiple perennialsInsect pollinatorsN-fixersAccumulators
Nut GuildJuglans, Carya, CastaneaCorylus colurnaCorylus avellana, Castanea pumila, Alnus, Caragena
Trad. Fruit&BerryApple
Novelty Fruit&Berry
Salad GuildTiliaTilia
Coniferous Guild

Coniferous Guild next to the Big Pond

  • The pond should not be surrounded with deciduous trees as that would litter the pond with a lot of leaves in the autumns. Therefore coniferous trees are preferable.
  • The north side of the pond should be the most favourable location around the pond as out will get sunlight both directly and reflected from the pond.
  • The main potential ediple coniferous crop is pine seeds that are produced by several pine species. The most potential in our climate should be the Korean Sembra Pinus koraiensis but also P. cembra and Siberian Dwarf Pine P. pumila have potential.
  • Pine trees are mostly ok with a lower pH so natural companion plants are those that have similar preferences. Potential plants fro the bush and shrub layer are honey berries Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica and blueberries.

Choosing plants to complement the Trees


  • Viburnum
  • Zanthoxylum (Sichuan pepper)
  • koreansk silverbuske

Young forest PA9





4.4. Integration

With the Pond

With Bees

With Fungi 

WIth Food 

With the Social 

5. Implementation


PA5 windbreakplant a few more Alnus glutinosaLack of N-fixers
PA5 windbreakThe Herb and ground layers and VinesLacking in vegetation layers

(2) European forest types. Categories and types for sustainable forest management reporting and policy. EEA Technical report No 9/2006.

(3) (Metsän sukkeesio)

(4) Jatkuvan kasvatuksen myyttejä ja virhekäsityksiä

(5) Height data taken from


Edit log

  • 17.6.2022: 1st draft, however not published yet
  • Continuing in October 2022
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