Showing posts with label Pollinators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pollinators. 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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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dots Connected: Agriculture, Water, Government, Gut Biome & Banking

Vintage ironstone, below, what do you see in the scene?  Decades, I saw, 'boring'.


Now, I see prayers of thanks, honoring the gift of Nature from Providence, its methods of provision, and more than simple survival, spiritual.  We are included in the cycle, as surely as the daffodil in spring.
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Spring's platter, honoring flowers of the guild, attracting widest variety of pollinators to the fruit trees, increasing yields by 80%.  Survival of man, pollinators, livestock, communities, nations.
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Commercial agriculture & livestock steps outside the circle of stewardship.  Water is poisoned, soil is killed, communities die, a nation's congress is bought.  ( Is 'sold' more correct?  Thank you to my dear readers sending missives elucidating where I am wildly wrong.  Why be a little bit wrong?)
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Fascinating science arriving about our gut bacteria, its role in our health.  From The Daily Mail, May 11, 2015, "

Everything you think you know about diets is WRONG: Counting calories is a total waste of time, it’s bacteria in your gut that make you fat and finally, cheese, alcohol and chocolate can all help"


"Professor Spector believes it’s down to the bacteria in our gut. He has found that the type and variety of our gut bugs have an astonishing influence on many aspects of our health.
‘Microbes are not only essential to how we digest food,’ he says. 
‘They also control the calories we absorb and provide vital enzymes and vitamins, as well as keeping our immune system healthy.’, full article.
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Following the money, a group of small farmers gathered almost a decade ago, brainstorming ways to keep money from leaving their county, discovering as time passed the idea had to grow from county to state to region.  This is hilarious, you already know where this is going, I'm sure of it.  
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The Atlantic,

Planning for Rural America's Economic Future

In Pottawattamie County, the agricultural sector is proving that innovative regional strategies can start anywhere.
"It has worked to train the next generation of farmers and to help existing farms with small-business coaching. Now, the county even collaborates with nearby Omaha, Nebraska, to help attract and keep corporations in the region instead of engaging in an economic border war across state lines, a development that too often plagues regional economic development.".
Continuing, "Part of the strategy to keep money in-state was to shift the type of farming that southwest Iowans engaged in from large industrialized farms to smaller operations that grew food that local people could eat. From this initial series of meetings was born the Southwest Iowa Food and Farm Initiative. The group has grown to a roster of more than 50 farmers, O'Brien says, with a smattering of local food-policy councils."  Full article.  
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From the 1960's Wendell Berry has written about the decimation of family farms, their way of life supporting more than a family, entire towns, conglomerated into states, and for most of USA's history, an entire country, agricultural.  More about USA's agricultural founders & its influence upon our form of government, read, Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf.
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Back to the platter, 
Until post WWII people, world wide, knew Nature, its workings literally & metaphorically,  as survival to health of the body, spirit, and financial security.  
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Losing the connection, less than a century ago, science is proving Nature of more importance to our good health than our good actions with diet & anti-bacterial soap, working sedentary office lives, not in tandem with the seasons of the soil.
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Further, trying to financially stabilize & grow a dying rural USA, improves health for people, agriculture, livestock, water, soil.  A banking system as beneficial as local farming must be chosen.  
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Ellen Brown, takes banking the way I take agriculture, for the people, organic, honest, public banks.  She's a money farmer.  Without good banking matching good agriculture/livestock, the system is weak, money flowing away from communities.
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Ellen Brown, "Connecting the Dots – 05.06.15
At what point are you willing to challenge your own notions of what’s really going on? Can you even imagine that the mavens of the Money Power would threaten human survival to serve themselves for even bigger personal profits? Ellen’s guest, researcher Dane Wigington, has a trove of data to suggest that they would. And they do so in the form of geoengineering, a covert tool allegedly being used to control natural systems for private profit. We also hear commentary from Matt Stannard about the economics of the Baltimore uprising and from Marc Armstrong about America’s only publicly-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota, which just issued its latest annual report — it’s another record-setting winner!
Listen here."
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California is currently turning water into a government resource/commodity, soon, your state will too.  A relief to discover there is new science, & engineering, about water.
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Ellen Brown, 

California Water Wars: Another Form of Asset Stripping?

"Tapping Underground Seas
Another untapped resource is California’s own “primary” water — water newly produced by chemical processes within the earth that has never been part of the surface hydrological cycle. Created when conditions are right to allow oxygen to combine with hydrogen, this water is continually being pushed up under great pressure from deep within the earth and finds its way toward the surface where there are fissures or faults. This water can be located everywhere on the planet. It is the water flowing in wells in oases in the desert, where there is neither rainfall nor mountain run-off to feed them.
study reported in Scientific American in March 2014 documented the presence of vast quantities of water locked far beneath the earth’s surface, generated not by surface rainfall but from pressures deep within. The study confirmed “that there is a very, very large amount of water that’s trapped in a really distinct layer in the deep Earth… approaching the sort of mass of water that’s present in all the world’s oceans.”
In December 2014, BBC News reported the results of a study presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in which researchers estimate there is more water locked deep in the earth’s crust than in all its rivers, swamps and lakes together. Japanese researchers reported in Science in March 2002 that the earth’s lower mantle may store about five times more water than its surface oceans."  Full article here
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Back to the platter.
  
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A lot of writing in this post, more eloquently drawn, above, in my vintage ironstone platter.  Yet, I did not go into the realm of Providence, sure, all my words inadequate, the platter says it all.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Don't know what a guild is for fruit trees?  More, here.