guilds/forest garden

mike_stubbs(8, Bastrop, TX)September 8, 2009

folks, I live in central Texas about 30 miles east of Austin. We are in an area they call the Lost Pines because it is a small area that is really more like east Texas than the Post Oak Savannah all around us.

I have 2 peach trees, 1 pear and 2 apples planted in a zigzag about 15 feet apart and would like to know about setting up guilds around all 5, hence getting a super guild.

I also have an area I call my "woods" because they did not cut down the trees back there when they cleared the land for this house I bought. There are Hackberries, Cedars, Mesquite, Western Soapberry, Gum Bumelia and Cedar Elms of various sizes and ages in this area. It comes up to about 15 feet of the end of the septic field. How would I set up a forest garden in this?

Thanks all in advance,


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Hello , Just amazed at all the butterfly host trees. I would add some nectar plants like single petal marigolds, zinnias , tall verbena V. boaniensis, western beebalm, etc etc. chiltepin pepper for the birds & hawkmoth larva. I let the weed grow in then overtake the grass in south texas to save h2O.

Alberto Romero

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 8:12PM
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Hi, I use angora goats for doing my clearing work. They do a great job clearing, and fertilizing. And I use there used bedding, for mulch. I am sure you know about setting up the seven story's, and establishing into guilds. Those are great guidelines. I use a lot of native, multiple purpose plants because they are not water hogs once established. Have you ever read Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemingway. Is a great to get the ball rollin'! good luck

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 12:07PM
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mike_stubbs(8, Bastrop, TX)

Rcstampyd, Yes, I have read Toby's book so understand the concept of the seven stories. That is also where I got the ideas of super guilds and forest gardens.
I was hoping for specifics to set them up in my yard, should I say, around the trees, here in Bastrop, Texas, USA. I do use natives wherever possible, just am not sure which ones would be good for the suggestions that Toby gave - grass blockers, N fixers, mulch, vegetables, insectary, etc. for around this area.
I also know that I want to get away from a rectangular shaped area that is purely set aside for the vegetable garden and include those vegetables into the guilds.
What are good guild plants to go with peaches, pears and apples here in central Texas.
Something to be added is I am going to put in fishscale swales just uphill from the fruit trees to catch the runoff from the rains. How far above the trees do the swales need to be? Would 5 - 10 feet be enough and also leave room for the guilds? Remember the trees are 15feet apart in a zigzag pattern. I am also going to have my swales "overflow" into a wetlands that I am going to create in the middle of the fruit trees. Suggestions for that, too, are solicited.
Do you all or anyone else have suggestions, ideas, constructive criticisms? I am all ears, or rather, eyes. lol.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 5:31PM
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I take it the fruit trees are on a slope? That assumption is because you talk about swales and overflow to a wetlands.

I'm unfortunately on flat land so I'll only get to do minimal with swales, and my soil is so sandy that there is little opportunity to catch water before it simply soaks in.

As to your looking for specific plant ideas. I've had a real challenge finding resources about specific plant guilds to use together, let alone for my climate and if I do find good ideas for plants to use, I've had a very difficult time finding sources for those plants locally.

Anyway, I would suggest you search for some companion planting charts or guides that include fruit trees and can tell you what goes good together and what would be antagonistic. Then start experimenting. Looks like yarrow, marigolds, garlic, chives, Fennel, Tansy, spinach, sliverbeet, Nasturtium, and even carrots are all listed good for fruit trees on the chart I have.

I know I've seen a site of a farm up in Ill that had pictures of different summer veggies growing under fruit trees too, like eggplant and some others I don't remember off hand.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 9:41PM
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