You hear a lot of wild stories about exotic plants and trees that you want to give a place in your food forest. But you really don’t have to go that exotic when you start. Sometimes it’s smarter to experiment with tasty native species and learn from there.
But whichever plant you choose. Everything always starts with the right plant or tree in the right place. And a lot can be said about that place. Every tree or plant has a preferred spot. This can be the type of soil (loam, small, sand, …), the acidity of the soil and sun or no sun. Some trees or shrubs like wet feet again and don’t like it at all. Today, we would advise you to bet on sustainable trees and shrubs. Of course you can try to ignore all that but you are only making it difficult for yourself.
This database of Plants for a future is already a handy tool.
Plants for a Future is a registered charity. They compiled a database of about 7,000 plant species. Research and provide information on edible and other useful plants that can grow outdoors in temperate climates. 1500 species of plants now grow on ‘The Field’ in Cornwall, their home base since 1989.
The main objectives of the organization are to conduct research and make information available on ecologically sustainable horticulture to promote ‘forest gardening’ – a high-diversity, holistic and permacultural approach. They strive to create a harmonious ecosystem with the least possible resources and energy, causing the least possible damage to the environment while achieving high productivity.
But if you are looking for something closer to home, you can search for the suitable tree here on this climate tree finder .
At the moment there is no separate selection for edible, but we try to give it a push in the right direction.
In any case, a good ‘tree supplier’ should certainly be able to give you sufficient advice. Because unfortunately, planting material is becoming scarce and you have to see what is in stock. That is why we recommend that you make a plan where you first think about shape and heights and only in a second instance you actually start filling in that plan with plants and trees.
Or better yet, check out Martin Hemry ‘s book: The Right Tree for the Garden. He worked on this reference work for more than 4 years. A gem that should not be missing in any bookcase. Especially for us he shared his knowledge about edible trees in a webinar