When market gardener Dani Baker, owner of Cross Island Farms, attended a permaculture workshop, 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 developing an edible hedge to screen your house from your neighbor’s to planting an acre or more.
Observing and mapping your space
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
Using permaculture principles
Expending less energy for greater reward
The book includes over 200 photographs taken over 10 years of forest development, along with garden layout illustrations for 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. Readers will appreciate the practical advice as she recounts lessons learned from her grand edible gardening experiment.
The Home-Scale Forest Garden 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.
Read a review here by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association!
“The Home-Scale Forest Garden is a thoroughly enjoyable read, with lots of good photos and illustrations. I particularly enjoyed reading about forest gardening in a colder winter climate and found Dani’s strategies for dealing with wet flooded ground, very heavy soil, deer attacks, and many other challenges both fascinating and inspirational. This book should be of great use to anybody making a forest garden on any scale.”
—Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden and founder, Agroforestry Research Trust
“Dani Baker enriches cold-climate forest gardening with candid details of successes and (importantly) failures in her decade-old forest garden. The Home-Scale Forest Garden serves as a guide to anyone who wishes to plant one, and includes valuable experience with challenges including some very wet soils. Featuring over 200 beautiful color photographs from the garden.”
—Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens
“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
“Dani Baker generously shares the gems of her forest garden journey, offering insights of her successes, mishaps, and inspirations that culminate in the delicious fruits of her labor. Her vision, supported by a depth of teachers and study, guides readers in learning the art of edible abundance. Whether your goals include greater harvests, landscape beauty, or diversity of species, I highly recommend The Home-Scale Forest Garden as a resource for the land steward in us all.”
—Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds
“We need many more examples of forest gardens, food forests, and permaculture orchards, and The Home-Scale Forest Garden will help inspire and direct you on the adventure of planning, planting, and tending your garden abundance. Dani Baker does a wonderful job introducing the uninitiated to permaculture principles in a clearly understandable way. Once you experience abundance from your forest garden, your life changes. A forest garden, as Dani explains so simply and beautifully, will get you to that abundance.”
—Stefan Sobkowiak, permaculture educator and YouTuber; owner, Miracle Farms: The Permaculture Orchard
“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
Dani Baker 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. Her “Enchanted Edible Forest” garden is located at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada. There, she and her partner, David Belding, grow certified organic produce and raise grass-fed beef and goats. Dani conducts workshops and tours in 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 edible gardens.