Hello! I am eagerly planning the garden for Spring and I am looking at guilds for companion planting... the possibilities seem myriad, so I am wondering what specific guilds have you all had great success with in this region?
Specifically, I am on the northern WA coast. So far I have 3 new appletrees planted in the fall, two big cherry trees, a pear, an Asian pear, a big plum tree, and some bare root trees I picked up before it started dumping snow here, so I am planning to plant these once the snow melts, which are: apricot, another cherry, another apple, peach, and nectarine. Perennials so far include just raspberry, blackberry, and marionberry. Thanks for any input!
You can't go wrong with comfrey under/near fruit trees. I've learned to cut them back harshly a week or two after they start flowering. They will regrow quickly and you can use what you've cut for mulch.
Some of my favorite plants to put under fruit trees are strawberries (domestic ones on the south side, wild ones on the northside), sorrel (it also has a taproot, and is tasty!) and chives/green onions/elephant garlic. All three of those plants grow very well for me (and I don't get much that loves me, so that says something!). Sweet Cicily also seems to do well for me and attracts pollinators. Some lilies have editble flowers and roots. Hostas love the shade, and shade out weeds, and are edible.
Native plants that I can say do well under fruit trees: wild strawberries, miners lettuce and siberian miners lettuce, blackcap raspberry. I'm also assuming that Oregon/Red sorrel would do well under fruit trees, as would bunchberries. Some people like to put sword ferns (not edible) under their fruit trees to smother weeds.
When the fruit trees are small, you can also rig up a trellis on their northside and plant peas/green beans. I've also planted kale with good success under my fruit trees. Echinacea also did well for me there, too, until the tree got too big. Dandelions are also a fantastic plant to grow under fruit trees--they have a tap root AND they feed pollinators!