En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 04, 2013

From: Livermore, CA
Region: California
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Interested in a mini food forest
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are both native to the area and edible. Which plants might be great for this?


Until he received your question , Mr. Smarty Plants was unfamiliar the concept of a “food forest”, so off he went to the internet. One of the first articles found told about the Hazelwood Food Forest project in Pittsburg that measures 90’ x 100’, or about 0.25 acres.  Your proposed plot (about 0.00306 acres) seemed a bit too small. However, an article at natural news.com  indicates that one can establish a food forest in the back yard. This is corroborated by this link .

The other sources that were found deal with how-to articles and plant lists to consider.

How to articles

 wilderness college.com  a good how and why article

Plant lists


  California Native Plant Society 


Good luck with your project!


More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Host plants for American Painted Lady larvae in Ohio
June 25, 2009 - Need to know what plants to plant as host plants for American Painted lady butterflies have larve coming in mail in few days , live in Vermilion Ohio on the Lake Erie. Thank You for your knowledge Pa...
view the full question and answer

Shrubby options for a bird lover in New Jersey
September 07, 2011 - Could you please recommend a native shrub to NJ that grows to about 3-4 feet, is very low maintenance, does well in afternoon sun and is also something the birds will like? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Why are there no monarch butterflies feeding on my milkweed
October 29, 2008 - I brought a milkweed from LA that has orange and yellow flowers. I live in Denton, TX. I haven't seen any eggs from the monarchs yet. Do the monarchs live on different milkweed in TX? I looked up ...
view the full question and answer

From hay to meadow
August 31, 2004 - I have just acquired a 90 acre farm in the Hudson River Valley and would like to turn some hay fields into natural meadows. One, for example is 20 acres, and has been let go to weed (goldenrod, thistl...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife plants for backyard on Galveston Island
July 25, 2010 - Can you help me select native plants for Galveston Island that can be used in a backyard to attract native wildlife?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center