May 10th, 2012
Oh MY goodness, am I motivated to build a guild around my apple tree?! YES! I ordered lead plant seeds to get started and am surveying my yard for sorrel and white clover to transplant. “Edible Landscape Design” by Fred Meyer, with www.Backyard Abundance.org was fantastic on our Virtual conference last week!! Several participants are also inspired to try some ‘new’ permanent gardening ideas – called permaculture – in their yards!
Fred taught us about guilds, a grouping of plants that support each other by providing nutrients, conserving water, attracting beneficial insects, etc. I have conducted several experiments including a “3 Sisters garden” (corn, climbing beans and squash). The corn needs sun and nitrogen. The beans need a place to climb and they provide nitrogen in the soil and the squash leaves keep the ground weed free and conserves moisture that they all need. All three attract beneficial insects for pollination. Happy, multi-functional and interdependent relationships! I am also co-mingling my perennial food plants – asparagus, rhubarb and peonies are happily holding space on a sunny bank. I planted my annual curcurbits – cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli – in the sunny spots among the service berry bushes surrounded by alpine strawberries as a ground cover. Comfrey, a majestic plant next to my compost bin, accumulates nutrients from the soil and will be used to fertilize the garden as well as attract pollinators. The blueberries are enjoying the pH of the soil next to the pine trees. And the onions are keeping the bunnies away.
If you want to view the archived sessions and get in on the last of the series on June 7 (composting) register now at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/sites/www.extension.iastate.edu/files/www/Virtual-Conference-Brochure.pdf It is definitely worth $15!