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 […]
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 […]
Manchurian Apricot, Prunus Mandshurica
Probably the cold-hardiest of all tasty edible apricots. UNDERSTORY LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 3 – 7 (can withstand cold to -40° F, -40 C) Soil PH: 6.0 to 7.5 Watering needs: Medium. Drought tolerant once established. Blooming Season: Early spring.i Just be aware that Manchurian apricots only blossom every two or three years. This is healthy and natural, and doesn’t […]
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 […]
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 […]
Scarlet Runner Bean, Phaseolus coccineus
The best perennial green bean I can find. And they can also make perennial hard dry beans, too. And did I mention they are perennial? I will give a heads up, however—without the ground protection, many gardeners never see this bean again. VINE LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 4 – 11 (though you’ll want to provide heavy mulch for zones 4 […]
Highbush Cranberry, Viburnum Trilobum
No it’s not a true cranberry… but it can be used for anything a cranberry can be used for, with good results! And they’re hardy, and MUCH easier to grow for most people than true cranberries. SHRUB LAYER Cold hardiness zones: 2 – 7 (can withstand cold down to -50 F, -45 C) Soil PH: 4.5 to 7.0i though some […]
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.
Nanking Cherry, Prunus tomentosa
The darling princess of the food forest! And the MUST HAVE for cold climate cherry lovers. This half sweet, half tart little cherry is also known by the names Manchu Cherry, Downy Cherry, Mountain Cherry, Mongolian Cherry, Chinese Bush Cherry, and Hedge Cherry.
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!
Walking Onion, Allium cepa proliferum
A true perennial among onions, and let’s face it, they just look cool!
Asparagus, Asparagus officinalis
Get it started, and it will do the rest. A perfect candidate for food forest veggies.
Black Cherry, Prunus serotina
Photo by Rasbak of Wikimedia commons, CC3
French Sorrel, Rumex Scutatus
Picture lime-tinted chard or lettuce. It’s Romain meets rhubarb. In other words, you’ve got to try French Sorrel…