Showing posts with label Guilds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilds. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beautiful: Form & Function in an Orchard

Aside from the obvious, below, young fruit trees, do you know what you are looking at ?
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For decades, I didn't.  Knew I loved the style, and copied.
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Not merely pretty meadow, below, under the fruit trees.
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We've truly been too long from the land not to know.  No sense whining about how things should be, genie is out of that bottle.  (Some have already labeled our era, "Anthropocene, adjective relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.", Google.)
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So, the pretty meadows, below, are form and function.  Targeted mix of plants, feeding the soil & attracting a wide array of pollinators during a specific window of time, increasing yield.  Money.
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Done correctly yields can be increased 80%.  Serious money.  More than money in yields, less time in labor.  More money.
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You're looking at a guild.  That tall gorgeous meadowy tapestry under the fruit trees is called a guild.
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Back to the anthropocene.  I do believe it to be true, yet pulling to the macro view I know Wendell Berry is speaking of a greater truth, and Earth will take care of our anthropocene era, " Whether we & our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals & decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."    

Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.
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Guilds are a way of planting eternity in the moment.  Guilds are a small patch of wilderness, if you 'see'.  "Wilderness is beauty beyond thought.", John Muir.  "The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.", Carl Sagan.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO T
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A guild planting list, below, from here.
SOUTHWOODS FOREST GARDENS: Patio Polyculture Orchard Design:

Article, below, from here, describing parts of a guild.  An exception, for me, to this list, below, I would use no human scat.

7 Parts of an Apple Tree Guild

Guild, or companion, planting is one of the fundamental techniques of permaculture gardening. It taps into permaculture ideas such as self-sufficient systems, plants providing multiple functions, and maximizing the productivity of a plot. Guilds are typically set up around a central fruit tree. Each plant species in the ecosystem performs one or more functions that benefit others in the vicinity, as well as interacting with animal species and soil microorganisms to create an ecosystem. Below are examples of species that can be used to make an effective guild planting around an apple tree.
Apple Tree
At the centre of the guild stands an apple tree. In a permaculture design, it is preferable to get your fruit trees into then ground as soon as possible, as they can take several years to mature. For instance, if you plant a one-year-old specimen of a standard sized apple tree, you can expect to start harvesting in around five years. Dwarf varieties will take a little less time, producing their first harvest around year three. When planting an apple tree, make sure you add plenty of organic matter and, if possible, some animal manure. This will give the tree all the nutrients it needs to make a robust start in your plot. The addition of organic matter will help keep the soil well structured and so well drained, something apple trees prefer. Most apple trees do not self-pollinate, so for the trees to produce fruit, you need at least two specimens. They don’t necessarily have to be the same variety (you could get some interesting flavours by including different species on your site) but will require pollination between individuals to produce fruit. Golden Delicious and Granny Smith trees are renowned as good trees to pollinate with many other varieties, however, do a little research and find out which species of apple tree are native to your area. They will be best suited to the local conditions. The apple tree obviously provides the permaculture gardener with food, but also offers protection to the plants around it. They may need to be pruned to allow sunlight to reach the ground where the other plants in the guild are sited.
Suppressors
Plants that have bulbs are characterised by short stems and fleshy leaves, besides the underground bulb that acts as an energy store for when the plant is dormant. They are good additions to an apple tree guild as their shallow roots help to suppress grass growth. Grass would compete with the apple tree and the surrounding plants for nutrients, so keeping it at bay is essential for robust growth. The bulbed plants have the added bonus of going dormant in the summer, and so do not take valuable water away from the thirstier apple tree when rainfall is likely to be scarcer. A circle of bulbs should be planted underneath where the drip line of the apple tree will be when it is fully-grown. Alliums such as chives, leeks and garlic are good choices, but arguably the best plant for this role in the guild is the daffodil, because they have the additional benefit of deterring deer and rabbits as the animals find them poisonous.
Attractors
Attracting a variety of insects to the guild is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps to pollinate the plants (and so, in the case of the apple tree, producing fruit), while secondly, it prevents any one species of insect becoming a problem, as different species predate on one another. Dill, fennel and coriander plants are known to be particularly effective at attracting insects in an apple tree guild. (The apple tree itself will also attract birds to the guild, which will also help keep insect populations in check, as well as filling your permaculture site with beautiful birdsong.)
Repelers
Of course, besides attracting predators, the guild can also include plants that repel potentially damaging insects. In an apple tree guild, nasturtiums are the go-to species for this function. They seem to be particularly adept at keeping insects that may damage apples away. Indeed, many commercial apple orchards plant nasturtiums around the base of the trees to help protect their crops. Nasturtiums also provide colour to the guild, while their flowers are edible too.
Mulchers
Adding plants that naturally provide mulch to the guild will save the gardener time and energy. Utilizing species that you can slash the foliage of and leave on the ground to rot into the topsoil means the soil retains good structure, helping aeration and water percolation, and provides nutrients that all the plants in the guild can access. Comfrey, artichokes and rhubarb all work well in this regard in an apple tree guild.
Accumulators
The permaculture gardener can add species to the apple tree guild that will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Like the mulching plants, this lessens the need for manually adding nutrients (by composting, for instance) saving time and energy. Accumulators are plants that send roots deep down into the soil profile to bring up nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sulfur. These nutrients are used by the plant and by neighboring specimens as well. In an apple tree guild, planting yarrow, chicory or dandelion can perform this function.
Fixers
Besides the nutrients secured by the accumulators, it is a good idea to add plants that will up the amount of nitrogen in the soil. After apple tree guildwater, nitrogen is the most important element to plants, as it is essential for key activities such as energy production and photosynthesis. Leguminous plants have special nodules on their roots that form a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria to help ‘fix’ nitrogen Clover, vetch, peas a, beans and alfalfa are all regarded as fine nitrogen-fixers.
Besides the plants in an apple tree guild, the permaculture gardener may also want to consider adding (or, at least, not removing) stones and logs in the vicinity. These can create habitat nooks that will attract animal species. A pond will do the same, attracting frogs, different bird species, and insects, which will add to the effect of keeping insect populations balanced and protect the fruits of your apple tree guild.
12 comments
Robin saysOctober 25, 2014
Thanks this was very helpful. I would like to see more very practical well laid out guild ideas like this!
David Cameron saysNovember 2, 2014
Great suggestions, just need a bit more space to fit it all in
Karen Pusin saysNovember 3, 2014
I have an apple tree that survived a tornado…
Red Brady saysNovember 3, 2014
We’ve just planted the first two native apple trees in what will, we hope, be our forest garden (currently a large grassed paddock). Working out the rest of it is proving to be fun!
dhalsey saysDecember 8, 2014
Here is a polyculture page at the Natural Capital Plant Database:
http://permacultureplantdata.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=488&Itemid=237
Ground cover whatever the plant is important in all these guilds. Occupy the soil space and absorb the sun into organic matter. Dan
Keshet Miller saysDecember 8, 2014
Mmm some very useful knowledge here…. they didnt mention the importance of a gazebo though! Heheh 🙂
Jock McClure saysJanuary 17, 2015
My tree might certainly benefit from this info! I owe it some consideration.
Betsy Beard saysJanuary 17, 2015
What kind of guilds are they talking about here? Do they mean to say ‘guides?’
Bernice saysJanuary 17, 2015
Would like a natural way to spray or keep worms from cherrys and to keep robins out of my cherrytrees
Daniel Laporte saysJanuary 17, 2015
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haecklers saysApril 11, 2015
How do you prevent insect pests by picking up dropped fruit to break the lifecycle with all those plants under the trees? How to you get to the fruit to harvest it? Those two are what’s been keeping me from planting guilds under my trees!
Anonymous saysSeptember 20, 2015
Very helpful.I have learned much
Thankyou

Comments are closed

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tara Turf & Guilds

Visual pun, below.  Formal hedges with Tara Turf.  Tara Turf?  Tall meadow mix of grasses, herbs, flowers, what the wind blows in, singular to each locale.  Mown, as below, creating formal with informal.
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Look closely, below.  This Tara Turf is under fruit trees, an orchard.  Heightening the visual pun, but I'm easily amused (enriched?) by such.
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Under an orchard Tara Turf is also a guild.  Quickly, a guild is a mix of plantings attractive to pollinators which will increase crop yield by 80%, more here, and here.




Pic, above, here.
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Cecil Beaton, below, on his Tara Turf.

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Pic, above, here.

Barefoot.  Smart man.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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Beloved is a brave man.  Mowing our Tara Turf too l-o-w.  Walking from the chicken coup, across a meadow of blooming Tara Turf, early this month, I thought to myself, "Cannot believe this is my life."  Within 24 hours Beloved mowed it all away.  All.