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planting guilds defined

Posted by purpleinopp 8b AL (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 3, 11 at 16:16

Is the term guild relatively new? Or is it an ancient term that's been revived? How are guilds different than the traditional concept of companion planting? What are the requirements for calling a planting a guild?

Today is the first I've heard of it although I've been interested in permaculture and companion planting for years.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: planting guilds defined

I think the term companion planting has been sooo contaminated with bad info that guilds is better, especially when it involves perennials and woodies. I think of the strawberries under my apple tree as a guild, but not the buckwheat growing in the potatoes -- that's a companion planting.

RE: planting guilds defined

Companion planting is mostly grouping plants that either grow better together than apart, or Plant A protects Plant B from pests.

Guilds are grouping plants that have specific 'jobs', working together to nurture and/or benefit each other. There is usually a central element (like a fruit tree, etc), and it is surrounded with complimentary plants:

* Some help to reduce competition for nutrients (flower bulbs help to cut down the amount of invasive grasses that compete with the fruit tree)

* Some drop leaves and provide mulch. (Comfrey is one).

* Some provide shelter from wind, frost or too much sun.

* Some provide nutrients. (Legumes like peas and beans pull nitrogen from the air and deposit it via their roots in the soil.)

* Some protect the major plant from pests. (Tagetes marigolds)

* Some are insectary plants, which attract and host beneficial insects, for pollination or for preying on pest insects. (Umbelliferous plants)

* Some are sacrificial plants, that pests will attack instead of the fruit tree. (Nasturtiums)

* Some are ground covers that shade and protect the soil. (Clover).


RE: planting guilds defined

Sue describes the inter-related functions of plants in a guild. The role of each plant in a guild is based on pragmatism, unlike companion planting which is mostly alchemy pretending to be science.

RE: planting guilds defined

I understand the roles and thought they were part of the concept of companion planting. I'm just trying to grasp the difference between the 2 terms, or if a guild is a more specific type of companion planting.

RE: planting guilds defined

>> "I'm just trying to grasp the difference between the 2 terms, or if a guild is a more specific type of companion planting."

It is... kinda-sorta...

One definition of companion planting: The close planting of different plants that enhance each other's growth or protect each other from pests.

From Wikipedia: "Guilds can be thought of as an extension of companion planting."

And that is probably true. Guilds go farther in the consideration of what different plants can do for each other. But I would say that guilds also go farther in improving the soil than ordinary companion planting, which mainly just considers the relationship between two plants.


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