There is usually a large amount of study and research of the intrinsic characteristics of plants when planning guilds. This can make guild planning quite a daunting endevour. However, it is also a lot of fun, and a very worthwhile enjoyable experience when things start working well. Before I go into too much detail, I would like to give you complete permission to make as many mistakes as possible. Learning what “not to” plant together is just as, if not even more, important than what “to” plant together.
One of the major issues of planning a poly-culture/guild is the amount of time it takes to properly study plants. If not a horticulturist by trade, a plant enthusiast, or have an ample amount of time then it can be a very time consuming and discouraging task trying to put together an assembly of beneficial organisms. To give people who are intimidated with guild planning or those who want to start right away – I have compiled three methods for quickly developing assemblies that can be installed right away.
1. If it Eats Well Together, Chances are it Grows Well Together
The first and quickest way to guild plants together is put them together by taste. Not only does this provide plants that are already enjoyed from their flavor, but the culinary blend of plants creates the quickest of all guild planning. This also puts things that do not make sense taste wise, away from each other. Not saying it cannot be done, but strawberries and salmon are probably not a good mix. A good example of this type of quick planning and planting is a salsa garden with tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, and chili peppers – all the while being under an avocado tree if possible.
2. Origin of Species
The second quickest, and very wise, way to make a guild is to do a quick search of the origin of the species. Carrots come from Afghanistan, Potatoes are from The Andes and tomatoes too. Even if the companion species is not what we would typically think of as a beneficial association or does not produce food – plants that come from the same place on the planet have genetic encoding that has already worked together for 1000’s of years. This is a quick and still a very thought out method of planning and planting guilds.
3. Hammock Planning
If the above two methods have been installed in your garden then it is safe to say that quick planning and planting of guild/s have been installed. And, even more importantly, plants and biology are in the ground. At this point, we can then feel confident that at the very least trial and errors are occurring and assemblies are currently growing and working well together. At this point we now have the time to sit back in the hammock and do a bit more in-depth research and analysis of species to make high quality decisions to which species to introduce and keep around.
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