After the arctic raspberry, this might be the next cold-hardiest of the blackberry/raspberry group. And, I mean… the fruit looks like a thimble. How cool is that? HERB LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 3 – 7 (can withstand cold to -40° F, -40° C) Soil PH: 6.0-7.0 Watering needs: Medium-low. Don’t overwater. But do keep them evenly moist long enough to […]
Swiss Stone Pine, Pinus Cembra
Being (quite possibly) the cold hardiest of trees, and a nut pine, and one of the few truly cold hardy nut pines that maintains a Christmas tree shape throughout much of its life, you might say that this is the most likely candidate species for the food forest owned by Santa Claus. UNDERSTORY LAYER* Cold hardiness zones: 1 – 9 […]
Saskatoon Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia
Queen of the food forest, this tasty “blueberries-in-a-tree!” favorite is easy to grow, is not too picky about its soil (unlike some plants I know… coughBLUEBERRYahem…), and will give you enough fruit to make pies, muffins, syrups, tarts, and a thousand other delights. SHRUB LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 2 – 7 (can withstand cold to -50° F) Soil PH: 6.0-8.0 […]
American Plum, Prunus Americana
Also known as wild plum, this prolific dainty can produce from 100 – 150 pounds of fruit per year! And it just might be the most cold hardy, PH tolerant of all the food-worthy plum tree species. And yes, they’re even eligible for making prunes… or Christmas plum pudding… or any other plum recipe, for that matter. UNDERSTORY LAYER Cold […]
Korean Pine, Pinus koraiensis
I’m totally nuts for this tree. One of the few particularly cold hardy nut pines (AKA stone pines), and it grows to 100 feet and lives 1000 years! Plus it has some serious staple potential… CANOPY LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 3 – 7 (can withstand cold to -40° F), and sometimes listed as going down to zone 2. Soil PH: […]
Golden Currant, Ribes Aureum
Though actually named after their lovely little golden-yellow flowers, golden currants do grow a tasty fruit that can be yellow, purple, or even red. The point is to enjoy them no matter their color! SHRUB LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 4 – 8i (can withstand cold down to -30° F, or -34° C) Soil PH: 6.0 – 8.0. Tolerates a variety […]
Apple, Malus Domestica
Yes, it is indeed the quintessential, typical domestic apple—with hundreds if not thousands of varieties. But there is nothing typical about its story, nor its history. Plus, because it’s been utilized by people for so long, and been bred so many different ways, there are SO MANY options. You can get the apple varieties that are just right for your […]
Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago
So bring us some figgy pudding, so bring us some… wait! Make that nannyberry pudding! UNDERSTORY LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 2 – 8 (can withstand cold to -50° F, or -45 C) Soil PH: 5.0 to 8.0 (alkaline tolerant, but can be sensitive to salt) Watering needs: Average, prefers moist ground. Can withstand sopping wet ground,i but can also tolerate […]
Garlic, Allium Sativum
It likes sun, it’s perennial, and it looks like grass. We should just rip out our lawns and grow garlic instead. The neighbors might not even notice! But hold your breath—unless of course you’ve got garlic breath… ROOT LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 4 – 9 (can withstand temperatures to -30° F, or -34° C)i Soil PH: 4.5 to 8.3 Watering […]
Spanish Sage, Salvia Lavandulifolia
Hardier, lower maintenance, longer lived, and colder tolerant than common garden sage, yet it can be used in the same recipes in the same way. HERB LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 4 – 8 (can withstand cold to -30° F, -37° C) Soil PH: 6.0 to 6.5 preferred,i but will also grow in higher alkaline soils. (≈ 6.0 – 8.5)ii Watering […]
Black Walnut, Juglans Nigra
You’d be nuts not to get one. This tree walnut disappoint you. CANOPY LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 4 – 9 (can withstand cold to -30° F) Soil PH: 6.8-7.2, but it will survive in a wider range of soils Watering needs: Average, though they prefer more in summer Blooming Season: Mid-spring Harvest season: September-October Fruiting age: As early as 4 […]
Northern Spicebush, Lindera benzoin
Step aside, allspice! Spicebush is coming to town. Cakes, candies, cookies… and it’s not just the berries that give the flavor. This cold hardy, moderate climate seasoning is going to rock your food forest and spice your world.
American Hazelnut, Corylus americana
Good for more than Nutella (which, by the way, you can make at home with roasted hazelnuts!), hazelnuts are one of the best nuts for the food forest.
Yamberry (AKA Chinese Yam), Dioscorea polystachya
Like yams, but too cold to grow them? Love yams but hate to have to kill your plant to harvest them? You’ve come to the right place, my friend! Possibly the best crop to qualify as a wild potato—or wild tater!
Hosui Asian Pear, Pyrus pyrifolia
For those unfamiliar with Asian pears, picture a fruit with the shape of an apple, the color and texture of a pear, but the flavor of an extra-juicy spiced pear. Plus they sell for top dollar at the grocery store and farmer’s market.
Walking Onion, Allium cepa proliferum
A true perennial among onions, and let’s face it, they just look cool!
Lamarckii Serviceberry, Amelanchier lamarckii
AKA juneberry, AKA shadbush, AKA saskatoon, AKA Snowy Mespilus, AKA apple serviceberry, AKA quite-possibly-the-best-little-berry-you’ll-ever-find-growing-on-a-tree.
Bigtooth Maple, Acer grandidentatum
The sugar maple of the rockies! Half the size, half the syrup, but much less than half the maintenance. And here’s two ways to tap them, too.
Asparagus, Asparagus officinalis
Get it started, and it will do the rest. A perfect candidate for food forest veggies.
Siberian Dwarf Pine (AKA Japanese Stone Pine), Pinus pumila
A power-punch shorty, a champion in the cold, and a rockstar in the food forest.
Nootka Rose, Rosa nutkana
Great fruit, beautiful shrub.