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Polycultures versus Guilds? (Q for Dave Jacke)  RSS feed

 
James Ward
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So I was looking for some bit of info, and I came across a comment by Dave Jacke on how "polyculture" and "guild" are not necessarily the same thing.

While I'm new to this, from my studying, I'd been thinking much the same thing, but then.... Dave's explanation of the difference left me confused.
Specifically, the quote was: "a guild is not necessarily a polyculture, but all effective polycultures should be composed of multiple guilds."

This seems somewhat backwards from how I understand guilds and polycultures, but I say that as a very new student of permaculture.


What I've taken from my reading on this:
"Polyculture"--Well, "poly" (many) and "culture" (cultivation/growing). So strictly speaking (and I've a bad habit of being a nitpicker about specificity), polyculture would simply mean growing more than one thing in the same space (as compared to monocultures).

"Guilds"--On the other hand, we have these. My introductory info to guilds was probably a typical one, the "Three Sisters." Here, it's a polyculture, multiple crops in one space. The difference is that the individual crops are also helping the *other* crops. (Corn supports the beans, beans fix nitrogen, etc....)


From that understanding, I would have said "a polyculture is not necessarily a guild, but a guild should be composed of polycultures." Or something along those lines.


So, for Dave, or anyone else who can chime in: What am I getting wrong here?

Am I just nitpicking about the "technical" definition of polyculture? Am I misunderstanding guilds?


Anyway, so there's my question/confusion.



And I've been reading here for a little while, registered in the last week or so, but this is my first post.

So, uh, to everyone.....

Hi.

--
James
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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I would say that a polyculture is not always a guild but polycultures containing guilds are potentially better producers than random polycultures. Even though guilds may exist without our knowledge, because we do not fully understand the science of allelopathy. I recomend searching Positive allelopathy on this site.
 
Ben Bishop
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I think you got it right. Polycultures are simply the opposite of monoculture. That is to say, you are planting more than one plant within the same growing area. A guild is a polyculture where you have intentionally planted several plants that help each other out. So for example, planting nitrogen fixing plants, broad-leaf sprawling mulch-y plants, a fruit tree, and a beneficial insect-attracting plant together.
 
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