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.
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.
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:
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.