When we wrote about Myawaki forests in Your Life Your Planet, it was primarily to focus on the benefits to humans. If one tree makes you feel good, a little forest may make you fabulous.
True, true. But there are benefits to the plants as well. Look at my Logan community garden after we first planted the orchard and now that we have adopted the Myawaki principles of planting in close knit proximity!
Humans are not the only social species on the block!
We now understand lots more about the role of fungi in exchanging sugars for minerals and many more complex biochemical exchanges, but the simple sharing of shade and water complements all the biochemical reactions that take place through soil, water and air.
On our case it is a mini food forest that bears fruit, weeks after planting as the tomatoes, mustard and amaranth quickly colonise the patch until we pull them out to make way for the slower growing sunflower, marrows and other plants that need protection from the sun, especially in their early days.
These intense blocks of planting combine some of our earlier drought proofing trips, the discussions about verge planting (I still call it the nature strip, even though that is so twentieth century) and of course we never go past the chance to remind you about the wonders of composting.