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Online tool for designing and ordering plant guilds

 
Posts: 44
Location: Skokie, IL
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I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, and wanted to post it here to get some reactions:

An online tool to design (or choose from already designed) plant guilds
The ability to simply order the guild with all the plants and materials necessary to install it (sort of a “Blue Apron” for DIY gardeners, this would tie in to what’s available from local nurseries based on ZIP code)

I came up with this idea because I’ve designed my own cherry tree guild, it took a little research to select plants. But then it was difficult to find the tree and plants from one source. I had to shop around, and most staff people are unfamiliar with permaculture (don’t get the idea of nitrogen fixers etc.) so the whole process was tedious.
I’d also like to install a rain garden in my front yard and I’m facing similar challenges, so the same idea could apply to something like this- select your size rain garden, choose suitable plants that you know are available in your area, order a kit for delivery.

I think a plant guild is often the easiest concept for people new to permaculture to grasp. A grouping of plants that work together to boost health and productivity. It’s also something almost anyone can get started with, in urban or suburban settings. Offering a variety of guilds in an easy to order package could be a great gateway into the bigger world of permaculture.
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steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Here's what a typical plant guild looks like in my garden...

companion-planting.png
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Companion planting in the vegetable garden.
 
Nathan Strumfeld
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Location: Skokie, IL
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I guess I'm thinking of the suburban use-case. I'm always trying to convince the neighbors to get rid of their lawn services and reduce the amount of grass by putting in some trees and shrubs - there's just rows of sprawling golf-course looking lawns. I think some small actions like this could solve many problems. People just want an easy solution though.
 
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Great Idea!! Yes it would be so good to have a computer program with the different "relationships" already plugged in.  Such as, this herb with that veggie, who loves acid or who needs to be planted all alone... I have messy notebook pages of all this and I'm sure many others are bewildered to even begin.   LOTS of potential in this idea!!
 
pollinator
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This is a good idea. Midwest Permaculture has a publication online for suggested guilds, but it doesn’t go as far as what you suggest, in that it doesn’t give you sources for the suggested plants.
 
Nathan Strumfeld
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Location: Skokie, IL
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Thanks for the feedback!
That e-book by Midwest Permaculture is a great resource: https://midwestpermaculture.com/2013/04/plant-guilds/

I also think, with a digital tool, it would be nice to have the guilds ranked based on criteria like: best plants for your specific area, availability, and popularity (based on ZIP code). There are many other social components I thought of, but it seems best to start with one simple idea and test that first.
It would hopefully allow people to be lazy (in a good way) and jump right in to permaculture with little effort.
 
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