Welcome back to the forest.
We are growing an resiliently abundant Food Forest on the side of the Ouse valley at Rodmell, East Sussex, using Permaculture Design and Biodynamic and Permaculture landscape techniques to create a diverse, robust, edible and otherwise useful landscape that nourishes and delights. It is an important action to grow a lot more food locally, in efficient and wildlife enhancing ways.
There is an inner area of Hugelbeds around a pond. The Hugelbeds are planted with annual and perennial salads and vegetables, soft fruit, edible ground covers, herbs, grains and green manures.
Hugelkulture (literally ‘mound culture’ in German) is a permaculture technique popularised by Sepp Holzer in Austria. The idea is to bury woody material underneath earth mounds. The wood slowly decomposes over many years, creating a rich network of fungal mycellium as it breaks down. This process ensures long term low maintenance fertility and moisture retention, whilst creating useful microclimates (sunny sides, shaded sides, wind sheltered sides etc) which can be used to the grower’s advantage.
Outside the beds there is a rabbitproof fence, and then a future edible/useful woodland area. This is still mostly grassland at the moment, and has been planted with fruit trees (apple, mulberry, pear, plum, damson, eleagnes, medlar), salad/vegetable trees (Lime/Linden, Siberian Pea tree, Toona, Silverbell, Blue bean and pepper trees) and other useful trees that fertilise all the others (alder, eleagnes, myrica). Under these taller trees, there will be edible and useful smaller trees, shrubs and bushes, herbs and ground covers (some mints and rubus tricolor are already planted out as ground covers).
The site is super windy, so key functions of the alder and eleagnes plantings along the North west side are to create future wind shelter when they are bigger. They also add nitrogen fertiliser to the soil every year in their root and leaf die off, and the eleagnes produces a nice berry in April/May. In permaculture we like multi-functioning species.
You are welcome to visit the Food Forest on our Open Days and work days. Please visit the events page for more details.
This website, and the forest, are still young and growing. We hope you find inspiration within.