What to expect

The following steps will help you to evaluate whether you are ready to engage with MyGardenOfTrees for the next five years

Do I have a suitable forest for a micro-garden?

  1. Any conifer or broadleaf forest: it is not necessary to choose a fir or beech forest.

  2. Authorization to access the forest site and plant seeds.

  3. A forest near you: a place easily and quickly accessible from your home or workplace to facilitate your observations.

Where exactly should I install a micro-garden?

  1. Micro-gardens are established in the forest: we are trying to mimic natural regeneration.

  2. Make sure you have approximately 4 x 25 m2 space for the four blocks of the micro-garden. Note that the four blocks do not have to be next to each other, although this would make your work easier.

  3. Choose a site with relatively flat terrain (around 5% slope maximum). This is to prevent soil from being washed away from below the seed protectors and also to make your work easier.

  4. Choose an area with little ground vegetation and avoid areas with shrubs that are aggressive (such as Rosa spp.) or have large visible roots.

  5. Select an area that can be fenced or is already fenced with a deer-proof fence. Also avoid areas with obvious signs of ungulates or wild boars that could destroy the garden. For a limited number of participants, we can provide reimbursement for the costs of installing a deer-proof fence.

Seeds will be protected from seed predation using purpose-designed seed protectors. Note that these seed protectors will be sent to you.

What will my micro-garden look like?

You can arrange your trial based on e.g. the available space, the distribution of existing trees, and the type of terrain. Nevertheless, each trial must consist of 4 blocks, each with 25 seeding spots where Fagus spp. or Abies spp. will be sown:

  • Block A1: 25 seeding spots (A for Abies spp.)

  • Block A2: 25 seeding spots

  • Block F1: 25 seeding spots (F for Fagus spp.)

  • Block F2: 25 seeding spots.

A distance of at least 1 m must be kept between the seeding spots, or more if you want to keep your trees growing beyond the first 5 years!

The four blocks of a micro-garden established by local foresters in Germany.

Zooming into one block

To account for the low germination rate and high mortality during the first year, you will sow 10 seeds per seeding spot.

You will protect each seeding spot with a seed protector for the first 2 years for European beech and for the first 3 years for silver fir. Seed protectors help to:

  1. avoid seed/seedling predation by rodents and slugs

  2. prevent foreign seeds from dispersing elsewhere in your forest

What will I receive?

To set up your garden, you will receive a parcel containing seeds of various provenances, labels to mark the sowing points, and metal seed protectors to prevent the seeds from predation.

How do I set up MyGarden?

Check out this video we made while sowing seeds in a micro-garden in Switzerland.


How will I monitor MyGarden and send in my observations?

You will monitor your trial during the growing season (April to October) for 5 years.

Using the ODK Collect (Android) or Enketo (any platform) app, you will observe and send us data on:

  • germination rate

  • germination phenology and, in later years, leaf phenology

  • height and diameter of seedlings at the end of each growing season

To make monitoring as smooth and quick as possible, we have designed a form using ODK/Enketo. For data collection, all you need to do is swipe through a few questions on ODK/Enketo using a smartphone. You can fill in the form offline and the app will send it to our server whenever you have an internet connection (e.g. at home, at work).

How much time do I need for all this?

The table shows a summary of the time required from participants to set up and monitor the trial, per year. See the detailed table of the time effort required per task below.

Detailed table of time effort required per task

The table below shows an overview of the tasks that foresters will be in charge of and the time required to complete them. Be aware that the time listed for each observation is approximate and can vary depending on how many seedlings survive each year (fewer seedlings = less time required for the observation).