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Fruit tree guild plants?

 
John Brownlee
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I got a Stella cherry tree as a gift this Christmas, and I already have a few apple and pear trees. I have about a quarter acre area where I am planting these, and soon to be many others. Does anyone have suggestions for other guild plants to put in this area? I'm also planning to put my primary kitchen garden in and among this area as well, so there will be a lot of diversity in the area. Also I can't seem to find a resource for mullien and comfrey seeds. Advice and help would be much appreciated.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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N-fixer... any legume
pest control....no idea maybe just cilantro
Root.......comfrey, lovage, borage, daikon
Biomass......?
 
Brandon Karhu
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There are two types of comfrey. one is Russian comfrey and the other one i don't know the slang name to. Russian comfrey is very rare and it can spread by seed. the other more common comfrey can NOT spread by seed. Oh, and comfrey propagates very easily by root divisions.
 
John Brownlee
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Brandon,

I did happen to find this http://www.horizonherbs.com/product.asp?specific=1856 about comfrey seeds. Do you know if there are any mail order type seed exchanges for permies?
 
Kris Minto
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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Brandon Karhu wrote:Russian comfrey is very rare and it can spread by seed. the other more common comfrey can NOT spread by seed.


The seedless Comfrey is Bocking 14 Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum 'Bocking 14')
 
laura sharpe
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comfrey seeds, russian i think by the pictures, are available at amazon, just got in new stock. The difficulty in killing comfrey gives me pause in using it.

Nitrogen fixers...I think i would like to put black locust trees among my fruit trees...is an idea anyways. I am planning on using alfalfa as nitrogen fixer, also has deep roots. I have not yet tried it but i understand one can grow alfalfa for two years. I like the idea of alfalfa as I can eat the sprouted seeds .

If you are interested in adding a fungi to the system, http://fungi.com/shop/fungi-for-healthy-gardens-and-garden-supplies.html , never used this but it is a resource. I cant afford it this year but I have this bookmarked because i would love to do it.
 
John Redman
Posts: 196
Location: Perkinston Mississippi zone 9a
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John Brownlee wrote:Brandon,

I did happen to find this http://www.horizonherbs.com/product.asp?specific=1856 about comfrey seeds. Do you know if there are any mail order type seed exchanges for permies?

I purchased the blocking 14 root cuttings from horizon herbs twice and was very satisfied both times.
 
Brandon Karhu
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If you want a mineral accumulator, try Artichokes. They are edible too!
 
laura sharpe
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sorry I got all excited thinking normal artichokes...wonderful things, do yu mean Jerusalem artichoke? I cant grow the regular ones
 
laura sharpe
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Ok to put together all of these various posts,

A taller bush, I like currants, yeah those...north of the tree they dont like full sunlight

A nitrogen fixer,

A deep rooted plant to pull up nutrients from deep in the ground.....for me this year I will try alfafa for both the deep roots and the nitrogen fixing properties, this is the one everyone is using comfrey for or those radishes, jeruselum artichokes as well (google deep rooted plants)

A plant which will out compete grass...often bulbs but I am going with garlic chives

Plants which keep bugs away or which attract beneficial insects or even ones which the bugs will choose to eat instead....dill and the garlic chives are like that for me...near by is also fennel and beebalm as well as some purple thing i do not recall the name of.

with these one can add lower layer such as creeping thyme (which i might use this year but I am really not in a hurry to make sure everything is in place all at once)

below all this...mushrooms are possible as well or so i hear. I linked above some non-edible ones which could be used for soil improvement...I have my eye on those as well

With each recommendation above, fit it into one of those categories.

I am not too fixated on other peoples rules....I am using potatoes just outside the area where I expect any roots to be this year...when digging them up i figure it will mix up the soil. They are heavy feeders so wont leave nice nutrients but i will compost the tops in place and hope it gives back. You see, my ideas on these things is that you try something and tell yourself it is ok to fail or not have a raving success your first time out. Keep the general ideas in mind and play with everything....remember sepp says yu should grow all kinds of poisonous plants too so everything need not be edible to you.

 
John Brownlee
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Laura,
That is a good point about the comfrey, since I am on rented land maybe I shouldn't use it. I think I will try alfalfa as well, but my acidic clay soil here might make it difficult to establish.
I absolutely will put some currents around it, I've got 25 blueberry bushes on order and lots of wild blackberries so I want to add to the berries on the property. And hey, seed is cheap! If something doesn't grow it wasn't meant to right?
 
John Brownlee
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Paul,
Thank you that is good to know. They seem to have a lot of interesting things so I think that is where I will be getting most of my herb seeds this season.
 
Loren Hunt
Posts: 45
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - Zone 5B
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Here's a quick video posted by Paul of Skeeter talking about "True" comfrey.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dogNx-z7Oig
 
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