FOOD forest establishment protocol

Welcome, on this page you’ll find the Food Forest establishment protocol.

Specifically developed for the spring planting window, the protocol outlines the exact tasks you need to do, the order in which you need to do them, when exactly you need to implement them, and an implementation guide for each step of the process.

The protocol consists of five tasks executed in this order: 1. Test the soil >> 2. Survey the site >> 3. Install swales >> 4. Sow summer cover crops >> 5. Apply compost tea.

The first two steps (1. Test the soil, 2. Survey the site) help you in preparing for the earthworks, the next (3. Install swales) in performing earthworks and the last two (4. Sow summer cover crops, 5. Apply compost tea) in improving and building your soil.

Use the links below to see when is best to perform these tasks according to your climate:

From now on, every time you need to transform a new patch of ground or an area to a food forest use this protocol and the guides included to successfully plan and implement your swales and supercharge the soil with cover crops and compost tea for the fall planting of the trees and shrubs.


How to test your soil with just the basic accessories so that you know how to design your swales and earthworks in general.

How to survey your site with both low-tech and high-tech tools so that you can accurately mark the swale outline on the site

How to plan, install and maintain your swales so that you can supply all the water that your food forest will ever need.

How to design and sow summer cover crops for soil improvement.

How to make and apply compost tea.

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