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guilds for small planter boxes?

 
David Bose
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Toby, I read and loved gaia's garden, so much so that it kills me to live in an apartment without a patch of dirt to my name. But I still want to begin learning and practicing for the future when I may have a backyard. Right now, I'm limited to a few 36" planter boxes atop the fence of my patio, which is the only outdoor space that gets even a little sun. Is there much value to planting multiple types of plants in the same box when they are so small and shallow? Do you have any ideas for miniature planter box guilds that involve some edible herbs and greens?

Or would I be better served doing something else entirely?
 
Toby Hemenway
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In such a small space, true guilds are going to be hard to do. I'd eliminate any soil-building plants that don't produce food and instead add lots of good compost to build soil health. I'd put in some insectary plants, as we need pollinators in the city. But I'd stick mostly with high-yieldingtubers, veggies and greens. I've done a fun, small space guild with mashua and peas or beans up a trellis, kale, and some salad greens. But you'll get a lot of yield from more traditional relay and high-density plantings of vegetables and perennial greens.
 
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