Can you grow an abundant food forest in one year? The answer is yes. Chantal Tulliez recently took me on a tour of her 600m² garden in Pomona — not far from Noosa in subtropical Queensland. 

In the space of 12 months, Chantal has transformed a garden that was filled with gravel, road base and grass into a beautiful living, diverse and healthy ecosystem that is providing a bounty of food. Here’s how she did it, and how you can do it too.

Knowledge is key

Chantal is a veteran of Permaculture. She completed a Permaculture Design Course 35-years ago, but never had an opportunity to use her knowledge until now.

More recently, she refreshed her knowledge by completing my online permaculture gardening course, The Incredible Edible Garden and joining a local Permaculture group.

With her mind brimming with ideas, she started putting them into practice.

Start with the soil

To begin her garden, Chantal focused on improving her soil, adding manure, organic matter and lots of mulch — up to 30cm deep in some parts. The mulch pathways created a barrier to stop grasses and ultimately changed the ecosystem of the soil.

Capture and collect water

Water was a huge focus for Chantal. She used swales and berms to passively capture rainfall and added two tanks to improve the garden’s resilience during the dry season. A pond in the centre of her garden also plays a prominent role for wildlife and water-loving plant varieties.

Grow varieties that suit your climate

In her previous garden, Chantal grew European fruits and vegetables. This time, she went straight for what works best in her area, focusing on perennials that would help establish her gardens quickly. In this way she could help activate the ecosystem she was creating while building her food forest.

At a rough count, Chantal was growing at least 35 varieties of edibles – all within a year.

Feeling inspired?

Join The Incredible Edible Garden Course today to get your edible landscape thriving. We start with the soils, explore how to set up resilient, low-cost, low-maintenance gardens and food forests full of diverse abundance. This is a self-paced online 6 module program that you can start anytime and keep forever. There are over 95 lessons and 12 hours of video content. CLICK to find out more

Watch my garden walk-around with Chantelle

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