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bramble vs guild

Jamie Skinner
Posts: 1
Location: Shenendoah Valley VA
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Hi all!

I am in the process of planning my food forest installation. I have run across conflicting information about whether it is beneficial to guild raspberries and blackberries or whether to install them in a bramble. I am trying to do as much polyculture planting as possible to avoid the use of pesticides/spraying. What do you recommend?

I have some very large canopy trees exsisting (ie mostly oak and poplar) on the north edge of my installation and I am installing fruit trees this spring (Enterprise apple, arkansas black apple, standard and semi dwarf cherries, pawpaw, and hardy fig). Do I plant in a bramble or guild on swales??? HELP!
Judith Browning
Posts: 7145
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Jamie and welcome to permies!
I have both a row of brambles and individual clumps of raspberries spotted in near some of my fruit trees and they all do well. In our hot summer climate the raspberries appreciate some shade. We have a lot of wild blackberries that have various diseases so I've avoided planting any other varieties of blackberry.
I think how you choose to plant will depend on your areas climate and how large an area you have available.
...others here can answer with more experience using plant guilds than me, though good luck!
Michael Cox
Posts: 2347
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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My personal preference is for avoiding needing to climb through thorn patches to harvest crops. We have a dedicated raspberry patch and a few blackberry patches that we harvest from.

I'm thinking about planting a clover crop beneath some of the raspberry canes this year to see if it helps soil fertility.
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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