A Week of Rain


This last week we’ve had so much rain the farm is a sopping wet mess.

Down below the cocoa orchard, the creek is a roaring torrent of muddy water.

Occasionally, the rain has stopped in the lowlands and opened up a view of mountains shrouded in clouds and mist.

It rained for 3 days straight. Mountains are still misty.

A post shared by David Good (@david_t_good) on

But mostly it’s just rained. That kept me from doing much of anything on YouTube this last week.

I’m hoping it clears up a little soon. Mom flies in this afternoon and the baby is almost due. It would be nice to take my very pregnant wife to the beach one last time before the delivery.

Last week I managed to finish my second draft of Turned Earth: A Jack Broccoli Novel and send it out to be proofed, and I secured an artist for the cover.

This is a piece he did for another project:

Yeah, I think that’ll be just about right.

I also worked on the upcoming film Night of the Bahfeemus.


As you can tell from the screen cap, it’s a deep psychological drama. If I’m lucky, I may actually even finish it. Putting together a movie – even a ridiculous joke one – takes a lot of time.

Along with the movie and the novel, I wrote an article, wrote a newsletter, did my normal daily posts here, worked on a short story for an anthology, managed some various other work and took my wife to the hospital for some tests.

Probably the most entertaining thing that happened this week happened to our sofa.

One of the children sat on it and it collapsed. I pulled it away from the wall and we discovered multiple trails of termites had come up through the floor and into the sofa, completely eating into it and destroying one of the legs.

Okay, that’s obviously not good. I sevin-dusted the termites yesterday but the sofa appears to be a complete loss.

Things fall apart fast in the tropics. Mold grows on the walls, termites eat through furniture and a log in the yard will rot into mush within a year.

Especially when the rains keep humidity levels close to 100%.


*           *            *


“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.

Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.

When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”


-Psalm 27, NKJV


An Unexpected Honor


I came across a post on Facebook the other day and was surprised to see myself:

“The author of five books and the force behind the daily blog TheSurvivalGardener.com, David Goodman (known as “David the Good”) is a permaculture enthusiast and an educator on all topics concerning gardening and sustainable living.

Goodman learned the specifics behind traditional farming at an early age on his family’s farm and discovered his passion for permaculture while living in Florida. However, after several years he realized that he wanted to experiment with permaculture techniques that went beyond Florida’s ecosystem, so he moved farther south.

He and his wife now live at an undisclosed location near the equator, where he continues to publish content on his blog and YouTube channel that draws on his 30 years of growing experience.”

I sometimes forget my real name after using David The Good for years. I didn’t learn on a family farm as the post states (in fact, I grew up in a house with a little yard in Ft. Lauderdale), but I did learn from serious gardeners in my family.

Anyhow, the mention was much appreciated. I’ve failed my way to success over the years, plugging away at problems and experimenting until I worked the kinks out of crops and methods, then writing articles and eventually books on what I’ve learned.

I’m back in “fail mode” here in the tropics but I’m getting better every day. Eventually I’ll hit success again in this challenging climate.

Thanks to all of you for reading and sticking around.


From Cover to Cover in Record Time


Over the last month, I’ve read a half-dozen or so entertaining books and a few which were less entertaining – but I won’t share those. Most the entertaining ones were published by Castalia House, the same publisher which put out three of my books.

Since I’m not a TV watcher, books are my main form of entertainment. That and wandering through the woods hunting for cryptids. Or being hunted by them, as the case may be.


Here are some I’ve enjoyed:

A Sea of Skulls by Vox Day

1242824025Though darker than his first epic fantasy novel A Throne of Bones, A Sea of Skulls draws the reader deeper into the world of Selenoth.

I particularly enjoyed the way various races employ their own forms of magic and worship their deities. The orcs’ summoning of their vulgar god GorGor is a particular striking example.

Also, I just about cheered when the former elven sorcerer Bessarias was called out of retirement. His character is a personal favorite of mine. He previously appears in the excellent tale Opera Vita Aeterna.

Even better: A Sea of Skulls has a second half coming by the end of the year. I look forward to it – though this title is not for the faint of heart.

The Promethean by Owen Stanley

The PrometheanLike Stanley’s previous book The Missionaries, The Promethean is wickedly funny and marvelously non-PC.

In it we learn why we can no longer have nice things as an American billionaire creates the perfect robot, unable to be distinguished from a human – and then sees his utopian dream turn into a nightmare.

I laughed out loud during this one.

There’s really no way any description can do it justice.

Young Man’s War by Rod Walker

1506877675This book is straight-up adventure sci-fi with excellent characters, a great plot and some seriously cool bad guys.

And zombies.

Sort of.

I read this one then immediately gave it to my 12-year-old son to read.

It reminds me of why I first fell in love with science fiction before the genre was corrupted by stupid utopian preaching and romance-in-space storylines.

For Steam and Country by Jon Del Arroz

This book is a fun steampunk throwback, though I found the main character rather irritating at points. DCJZWvoUIAADclz

Why would you randomly pilot an airship with no previous training? Of COURSE you’re going to screw things up!

Bad Zaira! Bad!

Of course, one must admit the brilliant Baron von Monocle left his daughter in a difficult spot – and it looks like there’s no going back to the farm.

Alien Game by Rod Walker

Alien Game is another excellent romp.


Imagine Jurassic Park meets The Most Dangerous Game.


Great fun. Bonus points for the exobiological details.

Mutiny in Space by Rod Walker


Communists and second chances, a dangerous hijacking and irritating bureaucracy you wish to see destroyed, plus more adventure.

And videogame theme music saving the day.

Just read it. It’s good.

At this point, I will read any book that Rod Walker writes.

I signed up for Kindle Unlimited a couple of months ago as it was cheaper than buying individual titles and I’ve likely already gotten my money back for the year. It’s like having a huge library to skim. I don’t know why I waited so long to sign up. If you’re a binge reader, it’s a good deal. If not, piecemeal probably makes more sense.

Enjoy your Sunday rest – I’ll see you Monday.


*           *            *


In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.

The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.

My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.

Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.

Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.

See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!

Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.

May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.

Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

-Psalm 25, NIV


Turned Earth: A Jack Broccoli Novel

I get asked now and again when my next book is coming out. I love writing and have multiple books planned; however, not all of them are non-fiction gardening books.

The project I’ve been completing this week is sort of a gardening book – though it’s not non-fiction.

I’ve created an entirely new genre – the gardening thriller!

Coming soon:

Turned Earth: A Jack Broccoli Novel

Yes, that’s real.

An artist friend of mine challenged me to write this book. He even came up with the title. The idea was so funny, I actually did it – and the book itself is hilarious.


“I’m just afraid of them catching on fire, Franklin! I don’t think you are seeing the risk here. Fur is highly flammable and there are literally dozens of places where electric current is buried in my walls!”

Jack tiptoed past, holding his breath. He was almost to the door when Angie held up a finger. He winced. I could ignore and run…

“Well I don’t care what the chances are, there is still a chance. You’re an electrician and you helped build the place. I want you to figure out a solution. Pay you? Ha! There is a house full of innocent creatures in danger and you talk about money? What is wrong with you? Hello? Hello?”

Angie slammed down the receiver.

“MEN!” she huffed, then looked at Jack with narrow eyes.

“Jack, someone called the office today asking about our soil testing methods. Hardin is out and Bill is on his cruise. That leaves you to explain what we do. Guy sounded important. I said we’d call him back.”

“Can’t Raman do it?” Jack asked.

“No. Raman says he’s too busy cataloging a big set of samples from some huge agribiz in Iowa. It’s you.”

Jack nodded, then started for the door. No mention of cats. This was better than expected.

He put his hand on the handle. Just as he did, Angie cleared her throat, obviously seeking his attention.

Jack turned slowly.

“Cats can get into outlets, you know. Some of them have prehensile tails. Mr. Wiggles does. He licks his tail to a slick, wet point. You can’t tell me that he isn’t at risk of a high voltage incident.”

“Well, it’s not that high of a voltage inside, really. Your standard outlet is just 110. And it’s AC.”

“I don’t care how many volts run through my AC, Jack. 110 volts is STILL 110 volts too many to run through one of my babies!”

“Well -”

“No well about it, Jack. You’re really going to stand here and stick up for the fiery execution of the sweetest, most harmless creatures on the planet? You would probably pull the switch, wouldn’t you, Jack? Pull the switch while Franklin poured in more juice at the box, Jack? You’re going to stand here – just stand here – and”

She had to stop talking about “standing here,” as Jack no longer was. He had slipped out.

“Men!” she hissed.

* * *

In the sample room, Jack decided he might as well call the guy who wanted info.

Then he realized Angie hadn’t given him the number.

Off the hook, he thought, then started grinding.

A moment later, though, the phone on the corner desk lit up. He flipped the grinder off with a sigh and picked it up.

“Jack, here’s the number.” It was Angie. He wrote down the digits, then hung up before she could bring up flaming cats again.

Jack picked up the phone again and dialed.

It rang three times, then he heard a faraway click and a “Hello, who is this?”

“It’s Jack. Jack Broccoli. From AgriTweak.”

“Ah yes,” the voice continued in a smooth, unidentifiable accent. “I wish to speak with you about your methods.”

“Ah, sure. We do a variety of soil tests. For example, Mehlich III. We also do ammonium acetate. And sometimes – ”

The voice cut him off. “Thank you, I appreciate hearing your sins first hand. I would say that you are scum, but that would be an insult to the incredible microbial community which makes up what humans call ‘scum.’”

“Excuse me?” Jack said, astonished.

“These tests you perform destroy life. Drying, grinding, heating – murder. Know this,” the voice continued, “the days of your domination will come to an end. Before proceeding further, we wished to know and record your lips condemning yourself, as it is only fair to let the accused present their case before execution.”

“Execution!” Jack exclaimed, “Wait, what – I thought you wanted a soil test!”

“The ultimate test is upon us. It is the test of our fitness as a species. And you have failed.”

The phone clicked.

Enjoy the weekend, folks. I’ll let you know when Jack Broccoli is published.


The Survival Gardener Book of the Week #10: Fruits of Warm Climates

gardening books

In my opinion, the best fruit are tropical fruit.

Mango, mamey sapote, chocolate pudding fruit, jaboticaba, pineapple, jackfruit, avocado, key lime… the tropics has the best of the best.

I may be somewhat prejudiced, however, by the fact that I’m allergic to most temperate fruit. I can’t eat raw apples, cherries, pears, mulberries, peaches, plums, strawberries, blackberries or even figs.

No kidding.

It’s been a source of great irritation that I’m a garden writer and food forest designer who is allergic to many of the trees I love to grow. They won’t kill me, but they do cause a lot of pain and itching in my mouth, throat and chest if I ingest them.

Fortunately, I’m only allergic to a couple of tropical fruit. Jackfruit is sadly one of them, but that’s likely because it’s related to figs and mulberries.

Fruits of Warm Climates

But – my stupid allergies aside – if you’re interested in growing the many beautiful fruit of the tropics, there is no better resource than Julia F. Morton’s book Fruits of Warm Climates.

Fruits Of Warm Climates new cover

That’s the cover of the newer edition. I have the older one, though, and like that cover much better.

fruits of warm climates cover

No matter which version you get, the book is a treasure. It’s filled with illustrations and varieties. You’ll meet fruit you never knew existed. Like wax apples! You’ll see my copy of Fruits of Warm Climates in this video:

Because this book is expensive, it took me some time to pull the trigger on buying my own copy. Now I’m glad I did. It’s a great big handsome book and though Julia Morton died over a decade ago, her writing and personality live on through her words and enthusiasm for some of the more beautiful fruit trees in the world.

Fruits of Warm Climates is one of the best gardening books you’ll ever own. Even if you’re not in the tropics, this book will make you dream!


Praise for “Push the Zone”


Ecuador Gardener has pink-fonted praise for Push the Zone:

Greetings David! 

Just finished reading your book “Push the Zone”… tons of good ideas and information. Thanks so much for making it possible for me to read it!!
When I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, there were coconut palms everywhere.  But then they got some kind of disease that wiped them out. After that, very few were seen in the area.
After you mentioned Jackfruit in your videos – I bought one at a local nursery – and also asked at a local juice bar that advertised jackfruit smoothies, if I could have some seeds. I was finally given some – and one just sprouted!!! It’s about 4 inches tall now.
They started selling lots of coconuts here – shipped in from the coast. I think I need to try and grow some… even though everybody says they won’t grow here.
We’ll see if my thumbs are green!!!!  : )
Thanks for all your videos and inspiration!!!
Thank you! Without my readers and viewers, I wouldn’t amount to much.
I’ve been fascinated by zone-pushing for years, dating back to the half-decade I spent in Tennessee. In the book I share stories of mysteriously cold-hardy lemons, and figs untouched by nights in the teens, plus present ambitious plans for growing jackfruit, coconuts, coffee and other tropical delights far from their perpetually warm and sunny origins.
Unlike Compost Everything‘s practical and labor-saving advice applicable to every gardener, Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics is for the dreamers and the madmen, those exiled from warm places or those seeking to build a pocket of tropical paradise in a gray and chilly backyard.
If that sounds like you, you’ll enjoy the book. It’s certainly not for every gardener, but it will absolutely fascinate those of you who think outside the climate.
Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics is now available in kindle and paperback versions.

The Survival Gardener Book of the Week #8: Small-Scale Grain Raising

gardening books

I quit eating almost all grain some years back. I used to have heartburn, sore joints and lethargy during the day – not to mention a gut – and then I discovered the “paleo diet” thanks to this guy and his book.

I lost thirty pounds in about a month and a half, gained muscle, and so long as I stick somewhat close to the diet, I never get heartburn anymore. It’s truly amazing.

But… today we’ll throw that all out because we “Good Gardeners” love all plants, even the ones that make us fat, dull-witted and dyspeptic.

And because growing and utilizing grains really is a marvelous challenge and a link to the past.

In Touch with the Past

Rye… barley… wheat… corn… these are the storable foods that built great civilizations.

Joseph stored away bushels of wheat for Pharaoh in Egypt as he prepared for famine:

Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.


53 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”

56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses[h] and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

A much nastier tale relates to the deities of corn in Aztec culture:

“The fourth month of the Aztec calendar called Huei Tozoztli (“the Big Sleep”) was dedicated to the maize gods Centeotl and Chicomecoátl. Different ceremonies dedicated to green maize and grass took place in this month, which began around April 30th. To honor the maize gods, people carried out self-sacrifices through blood-letting rituals, and sprinkling their houses with blood. Furthermore, young women adorned themselves with necklaces of corn seeds. Maize ears and seeds were brought back from the field, the former placed in front of the gods’ images, whereas the latter were stored for planting in the next season.

As the son of the earth goddess Toci, Centeotl was also worshipped during the 11th month of Ochpaniztli, which begins September 27th on our calendar, and along with Chicomecoati and Xilonen. During this month, a woman was sacrificed and her skin was used to make a mask for Centeotl’s priest.”

Let’s call that reason #182993829 why we should be glad Christian missionaries traveled around the globe.

On a lighter note, don’t forget the marvelous uses of barley:

“Now the grain of the barley is mostly starch, but before the barley can grow this starch must be turned by chemicals called enzymes into sugar. The malster and brewer take the starch of barley, turn it into sugar, and then ‘ferment’ this sugar (as eating it with yeast is called) into alcohol.”

And we call the final product… BEER!

Small-Scale Grain Raising

Small-Scale Grain RaisingGene Logsdon’s book makes grains interesting for the home gardener, not just for the big factory farms that grow almost all of the wheat, corn, rice and other grains most of us use on a daily basis. I own the book and have planted patches of rye, corn, barley, wheat, amaranth, buckwheat and even sorghum.

As the description states:

“More and more Americans are seeking out locally grown foods, yet one of the real stumbling blocks to their efforts has been finding local sources for grains, which are grown mainly on large, distant corporate farms. At the same time, commodity prices for grains—and the products made from them—have skyrocketed due to rising energy costs and increased demand. In this book, Gene Logsdon proves that anyone who has access to a large garden or small farm can (and should) think outside the agribusiness box and learn to grow healthy whole grains or beans—the base of our culinary food pyramid—alongside their fruits and vegetables.

Starting from the simple but revolutionary concept of the garden “pancake patch,” Logsdon opens up our eyes to a whole world of plants that we wrongly assume only the agricultural “big boys” can grow. He succinctly covers all the basics, from planting and dealing with pests, weeds, and diseases to harvesting, processing, storing, and using whole grains. There are even a few recipes sprinkled throughout, along with more than a little wit and wisdom.”

Small-Scale Grain Raising is quite a good book and well-illustrated. I quite enjoyed the read and the ideas.

Get your copy here.


The Survival Gardener Book of the Week #7: Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture

gardening books

Sepp Holzer's PermacultureWelcome back to another Survival Gardener “book of the week” post!

Look at the plants in the book cover above.

It almost looks like where I live.

Rich, lush, tropical…

…yet all that amazing growth is taking place under some of the worst gardening conditions.

High altitude, sub-zero winters, poor soil, pine monocultures.

Sepp Holzer isn’t in Costa Rica. He’s located in the Austrian Alps… not a place known for its mild climate and rich soil.

His story is fascinating and his mind is always working.

As Infogalactic relates:

“Holzer was called the “rebel farmer” because he persisted, despite being fined and even threatened with prison,[2] with practices such as not pruning his fruit trees (unpruned fruit trees survive snow loads that will break pruned trees).[3] He has created some of the world’s best examples of using ponds as reflectors to increase solar gain for passive solar heating of structures, and of using the microclimate created by rock outcrops to effectively change the hardiness zone for nearby plants. He has also done original work in the use of Hügelkultur and natural branch development instead of pruning (see Fruit tree pruning) to allow fruit trees to survive high altitudes and harsh winters.

He is currently conducting permaculture (“Holzer Permaculture“) seminars both at his Krameterhof farm and worldwide, while continuing to work on his alpine farm. His expanded farm now spans over 45 hectares of forest gardens, including 70 ponds, and is said to be the most consistent example of permaculture worldwide. In the past he has experimented with many different animals. As a result of these experiments, there is a huge role for animals in Holzer Permaculture. For example, Holzer is using pigs to dig new beds. This is a very effective way of digging, as the only thing he has to do is to throw some corn and fruit on the spot he wants dug up. A couple of days later, he can bring the pigs back to their enclosure and plant new plants in the bed. Holzer is able to successfully grow his plants without using any fertilizer.”

In his book, Holzer talks about dealing with problematic government officials, working with trees inside complete ecosystems, building simple but excellent shelters with logs and other found materials, cultivating mushrooms and livestock and more. It’s inspiring, even if you don’t share his climate (which I obviously don’t).

Sepp has also experimented extensively with creating microclimates, which is a particular fascination of mine.

If you are looking for ideas, love permaculture, appreciate genius or all of the above, pick up a copy of Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture. It’s excellent.


The Survival Gardener Book of the Week #6: Push the Zone

gardening books

Is it wrong to promote one of my own books?


Because Capitalism is the best “ism” (as my friends at Crypto.Fashion say).

The main reason I’m promoting one of my own books this week is because my publisher has just released it in paperback.

The third book in my “Good Guide” series… Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics can now be purchased in fully compostable paper!

Push the Zone“Have you ever wished you could grow mangoes, coffee, oranges and other delicious tropical plants… but find yourself limited by a less-than-tropical climate? If you long for Key lime pies at Christmas, or homegrown bananas at breakfast, you’re not alone! Expert gardener and mad scientist David The Good fought for years to figure out how grow tropical plants hundreds of miles outside their natural climate range… and he succeeded!

In PUSH THE ZONE: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics, David the Good shares his successes and failures in expanding plant ranges, and equips you with the knowledge you need to add a growing zone or two to your own backyard. Based on original research done in North Florida, PUSH THE ZONE is useful for northern gardeners as well. Discover microclimates in your yard, use the thermal mass of walls to grow impossible plants and uncover growing secrets that will change your entire view of what can grow where!”

Featuring a foreword by Dr. David Francko, the author of PALMS WON’T GROW HERE AND OTHER MYTHS.”


Though Push the Zone doesn’t have the wide appeal of Compost Everything, Grow or Die or even Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, it was a book I had to write for the hard-core plant geeks. The experimenters. The loonies.

The fun of growing things where “they don’t belong” has compelled me for years and I had much more success than I originally thought was possible.

Yes, you CAN grow coffee in North Florida, citrus in the middle of Georgia and peaches in Canada.

If that sort of thing interests you, pick up your copy here.


The Survival Gardener Book of the Week #5: Creating a Forest Garden

gardening books

I’ve always loved wandering through the woods and breathing in the damp, oxygen-rich air, fragrant with the aroma of fungi and growing things.

A forest is almost like a large, multi-faceted organism. It recycles nutrients, holds together the soil, provides myriad nooks and crannies for animal and insect life, breaks down rocks into soil, brings up water from deep beneath the earth and provides man with fruits and nuts, wood, game and an escape from the blazing sun.


With some clever planning, a forest can be constructed deliberately to maximize food production while still serving the many other functions of a wild system.

That’s where food forests come in.

I’ve read extensively on the food forest concept and helped build multiple food forests in my home state of Florida.

Here in the tropics, I have plans for a new one – eventually – but even if you don’t live in a warm climate, you can create a marvelous and edible forest garden.

After all, Robert Hart planted the first and most famous forest garden in Shropshire, England.

The tropics may be loaded with a massive array of species, yet temperate regions also support stunning forests.

For cutting edge research with temperate food forests, it’s hard to beat the work of Martin Crawford. His book Creating a Forest Garden is an inspiration for gardeners in colder climates.

Creating_A_Forest_GardenIt’s a hefty hardcover book. The kind of book you’ll want to leave on your coffee table for rainy days when you can’t get outside and garden.

Crawford covers groundcovers, shrubs, canopy species, fungi, insectary plants, planning and lots more.


The only downside to this book, in my opinion, is that Crawford succumbs to the climate change fear-mongering which has been pushed on us relentlessly over the last few decades.

Of course, if that sort of thing worries you, planting a forest garden is a good way to create a more stable ecosystem long term. It’s certainly a good way to mitigate heat and cold, floods and drought. Forests can take a bigger beating than say, a field of sweet corn can.

Climate aside, the knowledge and ideas in this book are worth the price of admission – I’m glad to have a copy – Martin Crawford knows his plants and their uses as well as how to make them work together in a forest garden.

Get your copy here.

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