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Fall garden polyculture/guild ideas?  RSS feed

 
Matt mcmenaman
Posts: 20
Location: Columbus NJ Zone 6b
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So I made a bunch of soil cubes and planted seeds in them: broccoli, brussel sprouts, leeks, onions, radishes, carrots, snap peas, and beans. Maybe a few others I can't remember right now. My question is, what's the best way to plant these out guild style? I made a bunch of woody bed rows (2 feet wide with buried old wood on the bottom, topped with earth and compost) to plant into. I've experimented in the past with just intermingling the different plants and avoiding single rows of monocrops but I really have no idea how to construct a guild. I'd appreciate any advice. I'm in zone 6b/7 in NJ near the PA border. I'm also wondering if there are any beneficial flowers/herbs I can still start from seed to include in the fall garden?

Thanks

Matt
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Try some chamomile. I don't have good luck with direct seeding it, I usually start it in a pot and transplant it out when it gets bigger. Dill, parsley, and cilantro should also last you well into the fall and you can direct seed those. Down here in GA, all of those herbs overwinter, but in December and January they grow really slow.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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you can always tuck cloves of garlic in around and between your other fall stuff too. they will sprout and grow slowly through winter and mature next summer, but in the fall and winter they're small wispy sprouts that don't take up any space at all.....
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I see that you have 4 of the 11 families present
1)cabbage - main crop, all others are support crops?
2)beans - fixes nitrogen
3)onion - controls/kill nematodes
4)carrot - flowers attract predatory insect which keeps pest insects in control

You should just think of this as the 4 cousins and keep on inter planting them, because it does not get much better than this.

 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I think of a guild as being a tree with medium, small, and groundcover plants supporting it, but I suppose any plants that grow better together are a guild!
To me, polyculture is what you're describing, and for me it's about what fits where without smothering/shading other things.
I suggest looking up John Jeavons for ideas about managing polycultures in time and space (not Star Trek, I promise!) I just ignore some of the more obessive detail...
First off, by beans do you mean 'green' beans or favas? Green beans are a warm weather plant and I imagine you'll be hard-pressed to get a crop before it gets too cold. Favas like cooler weather though.
I have always been told it's nigh-on impossible to successfully transplant carrots, and they and their cousins really need to be direct-seeded.
Large-seeded things like corn, squash, beans and root crops like radish, beetroot etc are generally direct-seeded, although people sometimes start them in pots.
I like eating leaves, but maybe you don't?
Do you like Asian greens, Swiss chard, rocket (direct-seed), lettuce or spinach?
Calendula is a great flower for insects, and I imagine you can sow coriander. Leave some to flower, the small insects adore it. I find both of these are best direct-seeded.
Don't underestimate the value of leaving veges to flower. Brassicas are by far the most popular bee flowers in my garden
The only families I might actually avoid planting near each other are alliums and legumes, but I don't worry too much about it.
And I'd definitely avoid mint in an annual garden; it totally takes over around here!
 
Matt mcmenaman
Posts: 20
Location: Columbus NJ Zone 6b
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Thanks for the ideas. I'll try some dill, parsely and cilantro. Also the garlic is a great idea but I won't be planting that until October. Believe it or not I've had good success with starting root crops in the soil cubes and then planting them out. I guess since I'm using the actual garden soil and compost to make the cubes, the plants transfer without any root shock or other problems.

Actually, I don't think I actually did use any beans - just the snap peas but I'll keep them away from the alliums. Thanks for that tip. I do have some favas but I'll be direct seeding those. Also, I do have some lettuce and spinach too, forgot to mention that.

I guess I'll just try to group plants that don't compete in the same root zone and aren't unfriendly with each other (like onions and beans). I wonder if I can get the snap peas to trellis up the brussel sprouts?

Thanks again!
 
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