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The Forest Garden

The Forest Garden

By Ben Bishop & Mike Amato
Have you ever wanted to transform your organic gardening practice into something more? Are you interested in ecology, permaculture, or sustainability? This podcast takes a deep dive into these topics, through in-depth commentary and relevant interviews with forest gardeners, permaculturalists, and regenerative system designers.

The Forest Garden Podcast is a joint venture between Ben Bishop and Mike Amato, two plant nerds who in the summer of 2020 realized they shared the same alma mater and the same interests in alternative solutions to our rapidly evolving climate.
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Yardwork: Gardening is Heavy Metal (Guest Episode)
Hey there podcast listeners, today we have a special treat for you - featuring voices other than our own! Tune in for a fantastic guest episode from the folks at Outside/In, a show from New Hampshire Public Radio. We chose to feature this guest episode because it poses a very important question for us (and probably for you too) "is the soil in my backyard safe to grow food in?". For those of us who garden in an urban context, this is a very important question!  We also recommend checking out the other two episodes featured in the Yardwork series, we found each episode illuminating in very different ways. Find them at or wherever you get your podcasts. Episode Description from Outside/In: Every so often, when she’s digging in her backyard garden, amateur gardener Maureen McMurray encounters something she didn’t expect: a lump of coal. She’s planted vegetables in the same soil for a few years now. But as she prepared for an upcoming growing season, she wondered: is her homegrown produce poisoning her family? The answer is nicer than you might think. Featuring Maureen McMurray, Nate Bernitz, and Ganga Hettiarachchi. Reported by Justine Paradis.  Full episode details, credits, and transcript available here. Links:
September 30, 2022
Forage & Feast! Mushroom Hunting & Notes from the Russian Diaspora with Dan Bensonoff
Fall is nearly upon us podcast listeners! Cooler temperatures and rainy days will soon bring a bounty to the forest floor. In other words, it's mushroom hunting season. Tune in today for our conversation with Dan Bensonoff, director of the Permaculture Initiative at UMASS Amherst. Dan has been collecting mushrooms for the majority of his life, having been blessed with a cultural background that is especially mycophilic. When I first met Dan, he expressed to me a frustration with american mushroom foraging texts. He told me that many of them listed the mushrooms that he grew up collecting, preparing, and cooking as either poisonous or inedible - and that these texts were missing out on an entire cultural history of flavor and experience. So that is what we are going to be talking about on todays episode! Tune in to learn about a wide variety of mushrooms including but not limited to the Lactarius, Russula, and Sullius genera. Dan not only has experience foraging for these mushrooms, he's also a bit of a wizard in the kitchen - so stay tuned for mushroom preparation and processing techniques, as well as unique recipes and storage methods. And be sure to check what Dan's up to with the permaculture initiative on instagram at @umasspermaculture. IMPORTANT NOTE! Never consume a wild mushroom unless you are 100% sure it is the correct edible species and not a look alike! Look alikes are plentiful among many species of mushroom, spore prints and foraging with folks who are more experienced is recommended for beginners.
September 16, 2022
Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation with Field and Forest Products
It's September! This sweltering summer is coming to a close, and thank the heavens it's been raining a bit more in the past few weeks. (At least in our neck of the woods). With the coming drops in temperature and increased precipitation, we over here at The Forest Garden have our foraging baskets all set and ready for the weeks to come. But did you know you could experience a mushroom harvest in your own backyard? Join us for an in-depth episode delving into the world of outdoor mushroom cultivation with our lovely guests Phoebe & Joe Krawczyk of Field and Forest Products! Listen in to learn about Winecap cultivation in woodchip beds, shiitake cultivation on logs, and much much more! And if you don't follow them already on social media, check out Phoebe's incredible mushroom minute posts on the Field and Forest instagram page @fieldandforestproducts. You can also find us on instagram @forestgardenpodcast, which is the best place to reach out if you have any questions or comments about a topic we cover in a given episode. Field and Forest Products links: Other projects we discuss in the episode:
September 02, 2022
Carbon Farming Solutions & The Nutritional Value of Perennial Vegetables with Eric Toensmeier
Welcome back podcast listeners! Tune in today to learn from one of our personal heroes Eric Toensmeier, author of Paradise Lot, Perennial Vegetables, The Carbon Farming Solution (and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens written by Dave Jacke). We cover quite a bit in todays episode, prepare yourself for in depth descriptions of agroforestry practices, the incredible nutritional value of some of Eric’s favorite perennial vegetable crops, and much much more. Eric’s links: Eric’s Books:
August 19, 2022
Establishing a Regenerative Community Network: The Resilience Hub with Lisa Fernandes
Welcome back podcast listeners! Today we have a really good one for y'all, a deep dive into the in's and out's of how The Resilience Hub got started. If you have never heard of it, The Resilience Hub is 'a 501c3 organization dedicated to regenerating land, growing healthy food, and building strong, resilient communities.' But it didn't necessarily start out doing all those things! Tune in today to learn about its origins, from our guest Lisa Fernandes - founder of The Resilience Hub, and current Communication Director for the Food Solutions New England network based at the UNH Sustainability Institute in Durham, New Hampshire. Today's episode is a crash course in how to get the ball moving in your own neighborhood if you are interested in establishing a community network of people who want more food crops in public spaces, in neighborhood backyards and front yards, and more! Tune in and don't touch that dial! Or whatever the modern analog for a dial is these days. Don't press that skip button? You get the idea... Remember that if you want to get ahold of us you can find us on instagram at @forestgarden podcast. Organizations Lisa wants you to know about:  
August 05, 2022
Food Forests in Public Spaces: Mount Joy Community Orchard with Aaron Parker
Today we have an extra special episode! We're lucky to be hosting Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery, Propaganda by the Seed, and most importantly - the Mount Joy Community Orchard Project. Mt. Joy is a food forest/community orchard located on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine. I first discovered it completely by accident. I stumbled into this magical landscape covered in herbaceous pollinator plants mixed in with fruit trees, and asked an elderly gentleman who was there picking raspberries "for his sweetie" - what's the deal with this place? He told me that is was a free to pick public orchard where anyone could come by and harvest whatever they wanted, so long as they were respectful of the landscape. From that moment I was hooked. If you've ever wanted your local park to look more like a forest garden, and less like a mowed lawn, today's episode is one you can't miss. Listen in as we learn about how Mt. Joy got started, what its evolution has looked like over time, and the steps that you can take to start a similar project in your community. Don't touch that dial! And remember that you can always find us at @forestgardenpodcast on instagram. Aaron's Links: Other Links for organizations or events mentioned in the episode:
July 22, 2022
Ten Lesser Known East Asian Edibles with Kyle Dougherty
The title says it all! Tune in today to learn about perennial vegetables and woody plants that are very undervalued in the U.S. and the west as a whole. Mmmm they're tasty, stick with us to the end to figure out where to acquire these highly nutritious but often hard to source plants! And as always, if you want to get in touch - find us @forestgardenpodcast on IG.
July 08, 2022
Permaculture isn’t Perfect: Ethics, Problems, & Solutions
The title says it all! Tune in today for commentary on the ethical questions surrounding permaculture, some of its shortfallings, and problems you may encounter as a 'practicioner' designing with the permaculture toolkit. Today's episode sadly is a solo act, as Ben is busy moving again. We'll be back again soon enough with our long form podcast episodes. Be sure to check us out on our instagram @forestgardenpodcast
May 27, 2022
Passiflora: Liliko'i, Maypops, and More!
Coming to you live from the back of Palolo valley on the Island of O'ahu - we have quite and exciting episode for you today. Passiflora is a genus that Ben and I are obsessed with. Back home, the Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) vines I have spread throughout my forest garden are likely just starting to pop up in the landscape. Until I get back to them, I'm spending my time taste testing all of the tropical species of passionfruit I can get my hands on. Tune in to learn all about them! Be sure to check out our Instagram @forestgardenpodcast for photos of some of the species we cover in today's episode. Enjoy!
May 13, 2022
Spring Foraging: Ramps, Morels, & Exciting Alternatives
It's foraging season! Time to grab ye olde foraging basket, a friend, a field guide, and hit the trails! Fill up those baskets to the brim with native wild edibles and then come home to... wait, should we really be doing this? Today's episode delves into spring foraging with tips and tricks for beginners, some thoughts about population decline in ramps (Allium tricoccum), and some forage-able plants you may have never heard of! Stay tuned for a thought provoking episode, and be sure to check us out on our instagram account @forestgardenpodcast where we are the most active/the most easily communicated with if you are looking to reach out. Enjoy!
April 29, 2022
Propaganda By The Seed: Breeding Perennial Kale with Chris Homanics (Guest Episode)
It's our first ever guest episode! We're pleased to host an episode from a podcast that is very similar to our own, Propaganda by the Seed. Tune in to learn about how Brassica breeder extraordinaire Chris Homanics developed the Homesteader's Kaleidoscopic Perennial Kale Grex. Not sure what a grex is? Well stay tuned to find out! Today's episode is jam packed with information on the topic of breeding new kale varieties, and much more. Be sure to check out the rest of Propaganda by the Seed’s podcast library, available on all major streaming platforms! Relevant links from today's episode:
April 15, 2022
Yellowbud Hickory Nut Oil with Jesse Marksohn of Yellowbud Farm
Spring is springing and we're back again with another informative interview. Jesse Marksohn of Yellowbud Farm (and Fungal Forest Farm) joins us today to introduce us to a tree that has been wholly overlooked by modern society; the Yellowbud Hickory (Carya cordiformis). You may have heard of this tree referred to as bitternut, due to its highly tanic nut content, but did you know that these nuts can be pressed into a golden 'liquid pecan' cooking oil? Think olive oil, but better. Produced locally, potentially better for you, and likely much better tasting because if it's local it's fresh! Get ready to have your mind blown wide open by today's conversation where we also learn about Jesse's experience gallivanting across country visiting every abandoned, or actively stewarded, nut orchard from New England to Tennessee. When I (Mike) first met Jesse, it was at a chestnut roast in Western Massachusetts where he had brought a fold out table - and it was covered from end to end with every named variety of pecan, heartnut, chestnut, and hickory that you haven't heard of. I thought to myself, "This guy is like a walking, talking, genetic repository!" Join us with your ears and attention today, we promise you won't regret it. See Jesse's links below:
April 01, 2022
Perennial Tree Collards & Kales with Sequoiah of Project Tree Collard
Spring is here podcast listeners! It's time to dust off ye olde gardening cap to prune those trees, get those bare root plants in the ground, and start planning that summer vegetable garden you've always dreamed of. In today's episode, prepare to delve into the world of perennial tree collards. Most people are familiar with collards that grow in your vegetable garden in the summer, but did you know there are perennial relatives that can grow to the size of small trees and live eight years or longer? Sequoiah from Project Tree Collard joins us today to tell us all about it. Whether you're a forest gardener in chilly Zone 6 or enjoy the year-round warmth of Zones 9+, Perennial Tree Collards are a highly adaptable family of plants that can provide you with a bounty of highly nutritious food. Listen in to today's episode to learn all about them. Follow Sequoiah via her links below:
March 18, 2022
Silvopasture & Community Food Security with Lisa Depiano of the UMASS Carbon Farming Initiative
On today's episode of The Forest Garden, we have the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Depiano. Lisa has many years of experience teaching permaculture in the Northeast, where her practice is informed by a background in regional planning and ecological social justice. I was first introduced to Lisa's work through a documentary called Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective, where Lisa was promoting, and a part of, a group called "Pedal People", an organization based in the Northampton area in Massachusetts which would transport compost via bicycles from family residences to municipal compost centers. These days, Lisa runs the UMASS Carbon Farming Initiative at UMASS Amherst. Join us for an in depth discussion in silvopasture, hybrid chestnuts in agroforestry systems, perennial vegetables and their culinary uses, pathways to community food security, and much more.  Lisa's Links:
March 04, 2022
Beyond Paradise Lot with Jonathan Bates of Food Forest Farm
On today's episode, we have the pleasure to host Jonathan Bates who several years ago, with his friend Eric Toensmeier, designed and stewarded a food forest made up of over 300 species of edible and medicinal plants on a 1/10th acre lot in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Join us as we talk to Jonathan about his experience living at Paradise Lot, and learn about some of the new work that he has been up to in The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. If you are at all interested in low tannin acorns, or cold hardy figs for USDA Zone 5/6 homesteads, then this episode might be of specific interest to you. Be sure to check out Jonathan's links below, and follow us on our Instagram page @forestgardenpodcast. Jonathan's links:
February 18, 2022
Rare Fruit Tree Crops for Northern Homesteads with Dan Furman of Cricket Hill Garden
Our interview with Dan Furman of Cricket Hill Garden, a specialty plant nursery based in Thomaston, Connecticut that specializes in uncommon edible tree crops and ornamental tree peonies. Way back in the Spring of 2021, I stopped by Dan's nursery on a random Wednesday to inquire about some mulberry scion. I was absolutely blown away by the diversity of his demonstration garden. At least in my experience, it's pretty rare to find multi grafted paw paws and espalier grown mulberry only 20 feet away from one another in a designed landscape. That was when I knew we had to have Dan on the podcast, and luckily we were able to make it happen! This episode was recorded in December of 2021, in it we reference Lee Reich's book "Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden" which is a fantastic resource that we highly recommend acquiring if you want to learn more about the plants we talk about in this episode. Find Dan at, and don't forget to follow us on our Instagram @forestgardenpodcast! 
February 04, 2022
Hardy Perennial Vegetables with Dave Scandurra of Food Forest Initiative of Cape Cod & Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod
Well listeners it's winter here at The Forest Garden, and now that the days are getting longer we are looking forward to the warmer days ahead. Cozying up by the fireside with a cup of hot cider with our favorite podcast playing through the speakers has been keeping us going lately. Today we're giving you that very same opportunity via our interview with Dave Scandurra of Food Forest Initiative of Cape Cod & Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod. Tune in to learn about how Food Forest Initiative of Cape Cod got started, and maybe how you could start up a similar organization in your area. We also spend a great deal of time picking Dave's brain in today's episode, trying to wrap our heads around all the crazy perennial vegetables he cultivates in his front yard food forest in Barnstable, MA.  Dave is presenting at The Foodscaper Summit this week (Jan 20th & 21st, 2022)! So if you like what you hear in this episode, and want to learn more, be sure to check out his presentation. Find out more at Don't forget to follow us on Instagram! @forestgardenpodcast Dave's links: e: Instagram: @ediblelandscapes, @foodforestinitiativecapecod
January 17, 2022
Urban Forest Gardens with Matt Lebon of Custom Foodscaping & The Foodscaper
Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to Season 2 of the podcast! We are super stoked to be here, and we hope you are too. On today's episode of The Forest Garden, we are lucky enough to talk to Matt Lebon. Matt is the owner of Custom Foodscaping based out of St. Louis, Missouri, and director of The Foodscaper, a community network of edible landscaping organizations united under a common goal of establishing edible landscapes for families and communities. Be sure to check out the inaugural Foodscaper Summit, on January 20-21, 2022. Only two weeks away from the release of this episode. (See links below). Stay tuned to learn about some of Matt's favorite edible landscaping shrubs, his design process, and a few of the projects his organization has worked on recently.  Remember that we here at The Forest Garden want to hear from you! To be featured in an upcoming episode, send us prerecorded comment or question as an audio file to our email If you want to connect with us on social, our handle on instagram is @forestgardenpodcast. Matt's social: @customfoodscaping and @thefoodscaperhq Links:
January 07, 2022
Ethical & Sustainable Seed Sources
Happy Winter Solstice! On today's episode, we cover the various seed companies and organizations that we care about most. Or maybe just the ones that stood out to us in the moment, if we wanted to talk about all of our favorite places to source plant material - we would be making an episode that might be four hours long...  Some of the organizations mentioned in the episode!
December 21, 2021
The New Normal: Our Everchanging Climate
It goes without saying that 2021 has been a year of climate extremes. Record rainfall and extended periods of drought really have been throwing our gardens through a loop. We can't help but ask ourselves, what strategies should we be taking to plan for our uncertain future? In other words, how can we take a more active role in mitigating climate change? What are the plants that might actually benefit from a shift in climate in our region? Should we be looking to the hardiest and most resilient of plant species to populate our landscapes with, or experimenting with plant species that historically haven't been able to survive our winters - and now may be able to? In this episode we delve into these questions and much more. The time is now to plant trees, sequester carbon, and attempt to slow our roll on this slippery slope that is the looming climate catastrophe. If you have any questions or comments to the topics we highlight in this episode, feel free to shoot us an email at or reach out to us via our Instagram page @forestgardenpodcast. If you would like to have your question featured in an upcoming episode, send it to our email as a prerecorded audio file! 
December 10, 2021
Hawaiʻian Tropical Permaculture with Adam Crowe of ʻĀina Exotics
Prepare to be transported to the Big Island of Hawaiʻi! Adam Crowe of ʻĀina Exotics, based in Pāpaʻaloa, Hawaiʻi, joins us today to discuss the trials and tribulations of establishing a tropical forest garden system on the slopes of the shield volcano that is Hawaiʻi Island. Tune in for an exciting episode where we discuss swales in tropical systems, pests local to Hawaiʻi, and some of our favorite tropical fruit tree crops. Be sure to rate and subscribe, and follow us on instagram! @forestgardenpodcast. Thanks for tuning in, and enjoy!
November 26, 2021
Propagation Methods for the Backyard Food Forest
On this episode we cover all things sexual & asexual plant propagation. Are you interested in grafting techniques, air layering, or taking cuttings of woody perennial plants? Do you have a four year old hosta or rhubarb plant that is crowding out surrounding plantings? Consider dividing up the plant during the appropriate season this year, on this episode we'll walk you through all of these processes. Find us on Instagram @forestgardenpodcast! And if you want to contact us, reach out to
November 12, 2021
Invasives: this is not my beautiful plant!
And you may tell yourself, invasive plants are the boogeyman. We tend to think they're mostly misunderstood. Today's episode is a mish-mash of us each playing devil's advocate, and sharing some of our personal experiences with plants that should potentially be avoided in Food Forest Systems. Not all invasives are evil, but some of them sure can be nasty. Join us as we thread the needle through this topic, and be sure to follow our exploits on our Instagram page @forestgardenpodcast
October 29, 2021
The Four Season Harvest: Fall & Winter in the Forest Garden
Hark! The crisp air has cometh! Our water hath not turned into wine but into Pumpkin Spice! It's Fall y'all, and it's in full swing. Here in New England, the trees are putting on quite the display. Pumpkins are being picked, winter squash are ready for harvest, and the ground beneath the trees is covered in nuts and soon to be rotting fruit. The harvest is upon us! In today's episode, we'll cover a wide range of topics related to harvesting this time of year. As the title alludes to, we will also be discussing Elliot Coleman's 'four season harvest' method. A hoop-house design that incorporates a double cover system for season extension that allows you to keep picking your leafy greens all winter long. If you want to learn about how and when to harvest Paw Paws, Persimmons, Sunchokes, and much more... stick with us for an episode jam packed with useful information. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @forestgardenpodcast. 
October 15, 2021
Fall Sowing: Broadcasting, Innoculating, and Preparing for a Four Season Harvest!
Who says you can't have a Four-Season Garden? It might be October, but there are still lots of things to do in the backyard Food Forest. Join us as we contemplate different strategies for best practice in stewardship of your landscape during the Fall. And don't forget to follow our Instagram page @forestgardenpodcast! If you have any questions or concerns, shoot us an email at, and, if you would like to appear on the show - pose your question or comment to us as a pre-recorded audio file! We would love to feature you on an upcoming episode. 
October 01, 2021
Fall Abundance: Composting in The Four Season Garden
Well podcast listeners, today marks the first day of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Soon enough, the leaves will drop in our cold climate landscapes. Fall is a team to spruce up your garden, build soil, and upgrade your composting game! The four season compost is possible, and can be bountiful. In this episode we describe some ways you can make it happen in your landscape. Shoot us an email if you have any questions or concerns to And if you would like to appear on an episode, prerecord your question as an audio file and send it our way! Be sure to check out our Instagram page @forestgardenpodcast
September 22, 2021
Nut Tree Crops in Food Forest Systems
On this episode of The Forest Garden, we discuss the importance of Nut Trees in food forests, edible landscapes, and natural systems. With Fall fast approaching, the time of year to reap the rewards of nut producing tree crops is upon us. Nuts are usually the last stop on the journey for permaculture enthusiasts, often being second or third to fruiting shrubs and trees. We think they are drastically underappreciated as key components of the over-story in forest garden systems. Stay tuned for an episode jam packed with info, and be sure to follow our Instagram @forestgardenpodcast. 
September 10, 2021
The Shade Garden: Perennials, Mushrooms, & More!
On this episode of The Forest Garden, we dive into a highly underappreciated resource in all food forest systems... Shade! Do you have shaded areas of your property where grass won't grow? Is there a section of your lawn that is more dirt and roots than greenery? Why not turn it into a space for production? From Hostas to Black Currants, this episode covers all things edible perennial and shade tolerant. Stay tuned, and don't forget to rate and subscribe! Find us on Instagram @forestgardenpodcast.
August 27, 2021
Forest Gardening Essentials: Tips & Tricks
On this episode of the The Forest Garden, we cover some of our  recommendations and tips for succeeding in 'gardening like a forest'.  Stay tuned for a jam-packed episode filled with invaluable information.  Be sure to follow our Instagram page @forestgardenpodcast we want to hear from you! Tell us what topics you want to hear us cover by commenting on our page, or by emailing us at, and be sure to rate and subscribe!
August 13, 2021
Forest Gardening: Back to the Basics
On this inaugural episode of The Forest Garden, your hosts Ben Bishop & Mike Amato delve into some of the need to know terms and philosophies of forest gardening. Before learning how to garden 'like a forest', there are a number of key terms and concepts that we felt needed to be covered in an introductory episode. So please... sit back, relax, and enjoy! 
July 30, 2021