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Apple guild - part 1 of a series of videos.

 
Sean Dembrosky
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Thought I'd share a new video I put up the other day that goes into detail on a guild designed around an Apple as keystone with rhubarb, comfrey, garlic, red currants, paw paw and american persimmon all playing roles...
 
Marla Kacey
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Location: Wyoming Zone 4
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YES, there is interest!  Thank you for posting this, Sean!

I have an apple tree that is producing little apples for the first time in the 12 years I've been on this property.  This year, as I pruned some wild roses, I laid those cuttings around the apple tree and the deer haven't eaten the blossoms or the fruit!  I will finally discover what kind of apple tree I inherited.  I grin each time I pass this tree.

I like your guild far more though, so will be adding garlic, rhubarb and currant cuttings.  Rhubarb is a deer deterent?   Wow!  I will spread that around my other deer feeders (cherry and plum).

Thank you so much!  Beautifully done video!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Sean, I love it , more please!
 
Amjad Khan
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Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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I'd like to see more please!
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 247
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Yes, more please!!  Very nicely done
 
Shawn Harper
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I'll add my vote to the MORE.
 
Sean Dembrosky
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Here is Episode 2... It revolves around concord grapes climbing Honey Locust, Elderberries providing walls against deer, gooseberries doing the same, and nutrient accumulating medicinal groundcovers and herbaceous layer...  Sorry, no apple reference   I plan to post most of my updates in the "Forest Garden" section of the forums here so be sure to check that out and subscribe to the youtube channel if you like it...  Thanks!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Any chance someone can explain this in text for those of us who don't watch video for one reason or another? Very limited bandwidth right now here...  Looks cool and I want to know what was done!
 
Julia Harold
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Location: Asheville, United States
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How do you chop and drop the pollarded trees? They are so high up and you have to get around all those grape vines. I can't quite picture how that works. I'm pretty sure you don't bring in a crane. And you probably aren't 10 feet tall. Do you bring in a tall ladder and wiggle through the vines? Use a pole saw?

Thanks for the videos. They are really helpful. I like hearing the details on how each plant was chosen.
 
Davin Hoyt
Posts: 101
Location: Central Texas (Georgetown)
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I have mapped out multiple guilds specific to my area (Central Texas). I am designing with plant families as primary factors. Here is a blank grid representing a 20'x20' area (no slope at it's simplest form). I foresee surrounding yard objects and soil conditions factoring into the placement of this "cookie-cutter"/unit installation. I hope this adds value to the conversation...
grid_example.jpg
[Thumbnail for grid_example.jpg]
blank grid for guild map
 
Davin Hoyt
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Location: Central Texas (Georgetown)
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Here is a map of plant family relations. Find the credits in bottom of image (not me).

Secondly, here is my quick reference sheet while designing guilds.
SOL11_plantguilds-affiche-A3.jpg
[Thumbnail for SOL11_plantguilds-affiche-A3.jpg]
plant family relations map
guildmap_howto_01.jpg
[Thumbnail for guildmap_howto_01.jpg]
quick reference sheet
 
Sean Dembrosky
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Location: Trumansburg, NY
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Julia - Good question on the pruning / chop+drop of pollarded trees.  The european buckthorn I point at at one point that is quite tall is a challenge to prune.  But if you remember, a pollarded tree has been cut when dormant anywhere from 3-6', so most of the major branches shooting up into space originate in a place I can get to with a hand saw or loppers.  If I wait until dormant season, ideally dead of winter with a bunch of snow on the ground to protect from me smashing up the herbaceous layer, it isn't a big deal to get in there and whack away.  Some grape vines might get cut as I go, but thats fine.  Maybe I'd prune up the grapes in the fall and take a ton of hardwood cuttings to stack function.

Good question and thanks for posing it.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Sean, So could you take me back to your beginnings at your place. Was it a forest when you got there and then you modified it or did you start from bare ground?

What steps did you take to get to this point?

I have land with a thick aspen forest and after seeing your films I am thinking about doing some things like you have done.
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 247
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Sean (or other experts), I was at the Mother Earth News fair this weekend and attended an elderberry workshop.  The gentleman said that elderberry leaves are allelopathic so I suddenly worried that the ones I planted in my forest won't play nice with their neighbors.  Your forest looks extremely healthy and the plants seem to play well with one another.  Do you know about any issues with elderberry allelopathy?

Thanks!!!
 
André Troylilas
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Sean Dembrosky wrote:Thought I'd share a new video I put up the other day that goes into detail on a guild designed around an Apple as keystone with rhubarb, comfrey, garlic, red currants, paw paw and american persimmon all playing roles...

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but no nitrogen fixer in this guild?
Thanks.
 
Sean Dembrosky
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I think I'll try to answer the three new questions in one response...
Miles - beginnings of the place...  Complex answer, mostly lawn-ish for a little less than an acre, mostly 30 or so year old haggard regrowth from what was a hay field.  Super dominated in the shrub layer with grey bark dogwood, european buckthorn and japanese honeysuckle, with a sad over story of red pine.  All on poorly drained silt soil 3' to bedrock!  Ideal!  The area in the apple video was lawn, the area in the honeylocust/grape area was shrub crap

Mike - Elderberry allelopathy...  I'm not sure.  It would certainly seem to not be the case where I have it growing.  Perhaps with small annuals and weaker, small rooted plants it could be an issue, but with trees and vines and running herbaceous, all hardy and perennial, I haven't seen it apply any negative effect.  I plan on expanding its growth dramatically and using them in part as chop and drop plants for more precious things like Apricots and dwarf sour cherries.  I'll overplant the elder so I can thin a lot each year to get so so much biomass.  Shrubcomfrey!

Andre - No N fixer...  You're right, there isn't one in there.  Maybe one should be, I mostly include them, but sometimes not.  If I were to do it again, some groundnut climbing through would fill out the vine layer a bit and not be too rough, or some lupins to the south, never too late to toss clover seed in, although now the place is super knit with plant life so no niches left to fill with my selection or weeds!
I think with enough diversity and packing that the n. fixer component, although useful, isn't critical.  Especially with the deep tap root plants (comfrey and rhubarb) doing a lot of work to generate minerals and lots of N in their leaves when they rot in the fall.
 
Julia Winter
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Excellent video with good information and, just as important, you sound like you're having fun!

I feel like I'm finally beginning to understand the use of comfrey (just finished my second major chop-n-drop of the summer) as a support plant by my apple and plum trees.  I've also got some ribes (clove currant) in those guilds, and daffodils, mint, various things.  I need some rhubarb! 

I've got these berms I seeded with winter cover crops last fall, and I just keep chopping and dropping rye, winter pea, vetch, now in-between squash and tomato plants (plus my baby persian mulberry and baby big leaf magnolia).  So important to keep the soil covered at all times.

I've found that if I toss the nasty invasives (in the PNW that's perennial morning glory) into the chicken pen, I don't have to worry about them coming back to life. . .  the other stuff goes right down on the ground.  If I don't like it, I cut it lower to the ground and more often.
 
Rose Mary Nipp
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hello I have a question about making guilds around existing trees. We purchased 20 acres in eastern Oklahoma that has some existing fruit trees and we have planted some in the 4 years we have been here. We are just learning about permaculture and need to know how to commence building a guild around an existing tree. The videos on this thread were helpful, but not totally.
Thanks
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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