Edible Forest Gardens
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Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems , incorporating fruit and nut trees , shrubs , herbs , vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting , these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat. Forest gardening is a prehistoric method of securing food in tropical areas .
From the Forest to the Milpa In the first stage of the milpa, a piece of forest is cleared of trees, and then burned to prepare for planting. For the first two to three years the Mesoamerican trilogy of maize, beans, and squash are cultivated in the full sun . Amidst this low canopy of maize is a dynamic ecology of herbs, tubers, and other plants that we might consider weeds, but are actually cultivated by the forest gardener to detract pests from the main crops, enhance the soil with nutrients, and help maintain moisture in the ground. This system provides for many household needs including: sustenance spices medicine construction materials firewood