Why did I not know about this whole fruit guild/permaculture gardening thing? I mean, it’s become my obsession…..well actually, it has been my obsession, I just now realized there is an actual name for it! Being a rather haphazard gardener, I love the idea of self-sowing plants. Why fight nature? I love to just toss seeds around and see what comes up. It’s like an adventure in the springtime to walk around my property and see what is growing in new spots. This past year I had a huge thicket of wild blackberries grow right over the top of a brush pile I never got to burn! Score!
Adding a fruit tree guild
A few weeks ago I took down our Summerscapes pool. It left a giant crop circle to the front left of my house. Very unsightly and very smelly for the first few days until the ground dried out a bit! I figured I would just let grass reclaim the area. The more I looked at it, the more I realized it was the perfect clear spot to start my first fruit tree guild! I wouldn’t have to dig up any grass so that was a big win with me.
The idea of food forests is a huge draw for me. Permaculture gardening just makes sense. I was never one for a formal garden, give me a cottage garden brimming with all types of plants any day! The smell of mulch is heavenly!
Fruit tree guilds
I had today off so, after a quick nap, I dropped by Lowe’s and hit their discounted perennial rack. Two Monrovia dwarf raspberry bushes plus six other full sun perennials for under $40?? Hell yeah! Two new blueberry bushes an a Golden Dorsett apple tree and I was out the door! The lady at the register asked me how I was going to get the tree in my van. Not to worry, I made it fit! The top of it was pushed up against my windshield but we managed to get home!
I have several other apple trees on my property and none of them are doing well. I have been researching fruit tree guilds to promote better growth. The entire idea of the tree guild is to encourage a natural relationship with the plants to benefit each of them. Have you ever created a tree guild? It’s like layering clothes in the winter. One layer benefits the next and the next. Natural mulch is my go-to for my garden beds. Why pay for mulch when you can get it from your property for free? It may not be the prettiest, but it is functional and it gets the job done. I don’t mine the sticks and pine cones!
Creating my space
I started with seven landscape edgers and laid out my new garden space. I placed the Golden Dorsett apple tree in the center. Two raspberry bushes went to the north and south of that and then I filled in around with the perennials. I also purchased some broccoli to plant in there. I have Crimson clover seeds coming this week. They will be my nitrogen fixer for the guild. I have not seen comfrey here, so I may need to purchase seed and start that from scratch. I am really pleased with my new tree guild.
Mulch, mulch and more mulch!
Seven wheelbarrows full to be exact! I added rotting leaves and pine straw from around my property. My pitchfork makes an easy job of this.
Filling it in
Most of the perennials I picked up are bee attractors. We already have a large bee, butterfly and dragonfly population here so these new plants will keep encouraging that. Our bird population has increased greatly in the last year as well.
I’m excited to see how this fruit tree guild comes along. I hope to add some herbs and vegetables in the spring.
Thanks for visiting!