We’ve talked at length about fruit-centered food guilds on this site, and a guild is representative of a healthy polyculture, so what could be better? Beneficial guilds, planted near our food-guilds, designed to support the health and vitality of the microbial, fungal, insectary and wildlife that make our guilds function well, along with any functions that overlap and include our interests, are a great way to enhance and sustain any existing polyculture.
Support guilds are not so obvious in their design, as much of the design focus is still on fruit-centered guild placement, and how this new guild fits with and within the existing polyculture. They might appear as an outcropping of three or four shrubs and the complimenting understory, or another tree, like the mulberry, fixing nitrogen and luring birds to their branches and away from your established fruit-centered guild.
Some make the focus of their beneficial or support guild food production for not only wildlife, but for chickens or other livestock on the property. Others design it around mycelium production, yielding some healthy mushrooms in the process of extending the nutrient reach of establishing plants. You may even use a support guild to bridge a food guild to the native ecosystem.
We’ll talk more about support guilds over the winter months, as we develop a plan for an orchard forest garden. Join us for discussion and learn along side us as we examine the intricate relationship trees have with their surroundings, from light to soil to mulch to polycultures, we’ll examine how these intricate relationships form in nature, and how we might mimic this process within the permaculture orchard.
Winter orchard design course schedule to be announced.