Forest gardens


It is our understanding that to create the most sustainable, or better, regenerative systems, it is useful to follow the patterns seen in nature ( natural forests etc) Forests all have a pattern language, things in common, or principles or ‘laws of nature’, that they are based on… it is these  patterns that make the systems regenerative, in every way. 

Temperate Food Forests in Aotearoa

Tips on designing and creating a temperate food forest


Koanga Institute Forest Garden Database

This database was put together after many requests on the special qualities of various forest garden trees, their soil preferences, how to germinate seed and where to buy them from. This is a very comprehensive list, enjoy!

Koanga Forest Garden Management chart

This was published in our February 2021 Fruit Tree Catalogue and will be in future editions of our Design Your Own Forest Garden booklet

The Forest_Garden_Management_Chart will be updated as our understanding increases

Designing a chicken forage system

How to create a perennial, regenerative chicken feed system in cold temperate New Zealand. Details ripening times to help you select plants to provide food for your chickens. The chart is available to view in more detail here

Managing Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust)

We love robinias - they are nitrogen fixers and also great for bee forage, poultry forage, ground durable posts, shelter, ramial wood chip and firewood. They are amazing trees, if you have the time to manage them. However robinia is a tree that requires careful management. Read more ....


Mineral accumulators chart A quick reference chart showing the most appropriate trees to grow in our forest gardens to ensure a wide range of minerals are accumulated and recycled and / or gathered to use in the vege garden for compost

Comfrey is an amazing plant. It's a mineral accumulator which is great in orchards providing a living mulch and for cutting back.

Ramial Wood Chip

Sadly we live in a time where soils have been degraded through many decades of industrial agricultural practices. At Koanga we realised long ago the importance of regenerating soils to support healthy plant growth and to allow these food plants to express their full genetic and nutritional potential. Over the decades we have built knowledge of how to build healthy living soils and over recent years have realised the potential of using ramial wood chip as part of this process. Find out more about using ramial wood chip below.

'Getting Fungi' with Koanga and Ramial Chipped Wood

Kay's Forest Garden


Forest Garden Planning Charts

Our booklet “Design Your Own Forest Garden” – by Kay Baxter, puts together a simple design process that anyone can follow. The booklet will take you from having the idea of planting some trees to the end result of having a complete forest garden design that will fit your own micro climate, needs, desires, and vision. The booklet contains charts to fill in as you go through the steps in the design process. These planning charts are available here to view, or to download and print out for ongoing use. 


We have several publications to help you with your Forest Garden or Orchard.

Design Your Own Orchard is a comprehensive guide to planning, planting and caring for a home orchard.

Our booklet Design Your Own Forest Garden (revised edition December 2019) is available in print or as an e-booklet This booklet puts together a simple design process to assist you from the idea of planting some trees through to an end result of a forest garden design.

The Koanga Garden Guide is a comprehensive gardening book but includes month by month information on orchard as well as garden management.