Fruit Tree Guild, Revisited

In June I blogged about how to plant a fruit tree guild, and gave the example of one I was planting by the Fowl Fortress.  I thought I’d show you how it matured.

Apple tree in trouble: heavy clay thoroughly shot through with Bermuda grass.  Yuck!

Apple tree in trouble: heavy clay thoroughly shot through with Bermuda grass. Yuck!

This was the area four months ago.  Heavy, sticky clay taken over with Bermuda grass.  A struggling apple tree begs for my help.  A star jasmine climbs the side of the Fowl Fortress.  A portion of the brown subterranean irrigation system lies aboveground.

Using permaculture design, I created a plant guild with herbs and vegetables that would build the soil and help the apple tree.

A guild is planted.

A guild is planted.

Strawberries went around the trunk of the tree for groundcover and grass competition.  Comfrey, a valuable nutrient accumulator in there, too, for slash and drop fertilization.  There is also a perennial basil, marjoram, gourds, golden runner bean (a nitrogen fixer), garlic chives, a prostrate rosemary and a tomato, along with other flower seeds.   This is how it looks now from the same vantage point:

The guild in September.

The guild in September.

Layers of plants protect the ground and produce food..

Layers of plants protect the ground and produce food.

These gourds can be dried and made into bowls.

These gourds can be dried and made into bowls.

Perennial basil, Amish paste tomatoes smother the weeds and enrich the soil.

Perennial basil, Amish paste tomatoes smother the weeds and enrich the soil.

Nasturtiums reseed and fill in as the other vegetables die off.

Nasturtiums reseed and fill in as the other vegetables die off.

Polyculture beds produce abundant, insect-confusing food guilds which help fertilize and water each other and improve the soil quality.  Meanwhile the apple tree has a few apples on it and looks healthier than it has been.  Next year’s growth should be drastically improved, and the amount of invasive grasses should be nil.  If I don’t grow consecutive annual crops here around the perennial plants, I will sheet mulch the bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *