Food forests and gardens

The food forest gardening approach is the creation of systems which are productive and abundant yet which require very little maintenance. It is entirely possible to design and plant a forest which, within a relatively short period of time is productive and relatively self-maintaining.
By exploiting the premise of companion planting, trees, shrubs and herbs can be intermixed to grow on multiple levels in the same area, as do the plants in a forest.
We can consciously apply the principles of ecology to the design of home scale gardens that mimic forest ecosystem structure and function, but at the same time grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer and medicine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plant guilds

I've been thinking about good plant combinations that can be used in the garden.
Using plants with non-competing root structures is one of the most important issues i think.
Here are the root types of a plant guild i want to try growing for example...
The roots will generally be non-competitive, plant spacing will still be important, the cucumber (which will only needs one plant to every 7 tomato plants) will act as a general ground cover to reduce evaporation, the tomatoes will be the main over-story and the onions will fit amongst the middle of everything along with the parsely.
Also i want to use Calendula and marigold amongst the beds for attracting bees etc.
Adding more higher vertical layers will be easy too.
Gooseberry and other currents would work well, as they fruit quite early in the season so can be used to support the tomato plants.

Tomato salsa combination!

Tomato - Fibrous roots
(mostly lateral feeder roots)
Cucumber - Tap root

Onion - Fibrous roots (not much lateral growth)

Parsely - Tap root

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