How to Rocket Your Food Forest Growth With These Easy Tips

An African NightCrawler Composting Worm on a Bed of Taro in a Glass Jar
An African NightCrawler Composting Worm on a Bed of Taro in a Glass Jar

Add Composting Worms To Your Food Forest

Why are you working so hard to improve your food forest's soil? Put off most of that hard work on your new friends the compost worms. The most popular worms for this task are Red Wrigglers and European Nightcrawlers. While both of these types of worms are available in most bait shops for fish and from online retailers, depending on where you live, you might be able to catch your composting worms for free using a worm trap. 

How to Make A No Cost Worm Trap


Compost Your Table Scraps By "Feeding" Your Compost Worms

Got your worms in place? Take it to the next level and become a super composter. You can do this with an above ground worm composting tower, an in ground composting worm tower, or by breaking down a cardboard box to use as a "top" and laying it near a tree or plant in need of fertilizing. Once you provide the food for the worms beneath this box, they'll come running to clean up your table scraps. The box helps keep the ground moist underneath and protects the worms from the sun. 
Red Wriggler and European NightCrawler Worm Castings From the Food Forest
Red Wriggler and European NightCrawler Worm Castings From the Food Forest
A large cutting of Sissoo Brazilian Spinach
A large cutting of Sissoo Brazilian Spinach

Grow a Ground Cover

Ground covers are known as "living mulch" because they shade the ground by protecting it from the hot sun, drying winds, and runoff. 

Some great choices for ground covers include: strawberries, oregano, sage, alfalfa, and clover. 

Ground covers like strawberries create runners to spread themselves across the landscape, thereby not only providing you with more fruit, but also shading more of the ground.

Ground covers like alfalfa and clover put down deep roots to help crack open the ground and make great grow-it-in-place chop and drop options to feed your edible landscape plants.  

How to Grow Strawberries in an Edible Landscape


Add Plants With Thick, Fast-Growing Roots

Plants like horseradish, rhubarb, and comfrey are my top choices for fast-growing plants with robust root systems that will also help to shade the ground as they fill in. 

Comfrey is a popular chop and drop plant for many permaculturists, but horseradish and rhubarb leaves also make excellent chop and drop options. 

Weed Out The Competition

No, I'm not suggesting breaking up the ground, using a hula hoe, or tilling. I'm suggesting recycling all of those boxes from the 1001 plant packages you've been receiving. Cardboard boxes can be easily broken down into strips or used whole around trees and other small plants to choke out grasses and other weeds. This requires far less work than weeding and can be mulched over later to improve the appearance of your edible landscape and also to help the cardboard to break down, providing more nutrition for your growing plants. 
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