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Forest Garden on McDonald Farm

TCF McDonald Farm signWe are designing and installing the FIRST FOREST GARDEN  in Naperville, IL on The Conservation Foundation McDonald Farm!

A forest garden is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in plants which can include edible, medicinal, fiber, dye, and fuel  producing trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.  Companions or beneficial plants are included as insectaries, pest confusers, dynamic accumulators, nitrogen fixers, and mulch plants. Together they create relationships to form a perennial forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food for human consumption, ultimately with minimal maintenance.

The McDonald Farm forest garden will be a demonstration design for people to interact with and learn from and serve as an inspiration for transforming suburban lawns.   We will also be using this project as a hands-on learning opportunity for our upcoming Permaculture Design Course, Food Forest Workshop, and Homestead Design Workshops.

We welcome volunteers who are interested in supporting this project and are available to donate skills and labor between August and October.

Enjoy the many photos Jodi and Karen took as they were collecting information for the site assessment.

Treeline that will become the forest garden
Treeline that will become the forest garden

Jodi identifying xxx
Jodi identifying goatsbeard

Thistle
Nodding Thistle

Bluebird
Barn Swallow

Treeline from another angle
Treeline from another angle

Rain barrel and rain garden at Clow House
Rain barrel and rain garden at Clow House

Mound of prairie dirt needing to be incorporated into treeline.
Mound of prairie dirt needing to be incorporated into treeline.

Rocks to move and find uses for
Rocks to move and find uses for

Area to be cleared once we get rid of the poison ivy.
Area to be cleared once we get rid of the poison ivy.

Iris growing in the treeline
Iris growing in the treeline

Thistle
Nodding Thistle. Beautiful, but still a THISTLE
Look what Karen found!
Karen found one of the farm residents:  Bufo Americanus

 

From Lawn to Edible Forest Garden

Now those of you who attended our presentation at the Green Earth Fair last Sunday can’t say we don’t practice what we preach.  One side of my Naperville front lawn has been transformed into an edible forest garden!

Michelle's Edible Forest Garden
Michelle’s Edible Forest Garden

It all started in the fall when Jodi needed to complete a landscape design for a class she was taking and I volunteered my front lawn (How nice of me, right?).  She created a beautiful edible design that I was eager to implement.

Late fall, when the City offers free leaf collection, I went around the neighborhood and collected about 40 lawn and leaf bags full of leaves and as much cardboard as I could.  This hung out in the garage (sorry to my husband who had to park in the driveway for a while) until Mama’s Magic Manure delivered 3 cubic yards of composted horse, sheep, goat, duck, geese, chicken manure on December 13th.  On December 14th I spent several hours sheet mulching and let that do its thing until this spring.

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Edible Forest Garden

fruit, harvest, forest garden, apples, peaches, blackberries, huckleberries

Imagine finding yourself in a young forest where everything around you is edible.  The canopy is chestnuts, pears, and persimmons with a shrub layer of hazelnuts, raspberries, honeyberries, and currants.  Under the shrubs are perennial vegetables, herbs and flowers with a ground cover of strawberries, clover and comfrey.  Vining up the trees are nasturiums and peas with garlic and chives near the trunk.  This design becomes more productive each year, requires minimal input from you and can exist right outside your door.

Visit our Course Calendar to take a course or workshop so you can begin enjoying your very own Edible Forest Garden!

Suburban Permaculture

People have become increasingly concerned with the resiliency of our food, water, energy and economic systems and are looking for personal and community security.  This has propelled a global permaculture movement that is permeating the United States and has made its way to the Midwest.  Permaculture has traditionally been used to design systems for large land areas, but recently people have discovered how the principles can be applied to any piece of land or living situation.

The suburbs have been maligned for being wasteful with resources, and they are very wasteful, but since we cannot undo the suburbs, we have to figure out how to reduce their resource consumption.  Suburban permaculture is the answer!  We can apply permaculture ethics, principles, and design concepts to the suburban landscape to transform them into productive self-sustaining communities rich in social capital, and which are economically and environmentally resilient.

The Resiliency Institute is uniquely qualified to educate the suburban population on the application of permaculture, because this is where we live and work!  We can help you detox from your lawn addiction, by designing an edible forest garden with a water management feature where you can relax and harvest your delicious fruits, nuts and vegetables.  Share your harvest with friends and neighbors, invite them to help you preserve the harvest, and enjoy a harvest meal together – all great ways to foster community.  Your children will experience a new environment rich in learning opportunities and may surprise you by eating their veggies.

Visit our course calendar.