Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

Published: April 1, 2001

Format: paperback

ISBN: 978-1890132521

Perhaps one of the most recognizable heralds of spring are narcissus, (the genus that includes daffodils, jonquils, and paperwhites). The flowers of these geophytes (bulbs) play a larger role in my garden than just their display of bright cheery blooms. Because all narcissus bulbs are poisonous to just about everything including gophers, I have incorporated them into my apple orchard “guild”. “Plant guilds” are a permaculture term used to describe a group of plants that companion well together providing benefits to one another thus enhancing their growth and survival better than they would fare on their own. Some simple examples more commonly referred to as “companion planting” would be maize with pole beans and squash, (3 sisters), or onions with carrots, nasturtiums, marigolds, etc. Guilds take it a step further though in that synergies between plants are formed. The basic functions of guild plants (some have more than one) are:

  • Nutrient accumulator, builders/nitrogen fixers
  • Pest repulsers/repellents/disruptors (insects, fungal diseases, mammals)
  • Mulch makers
  • Insectary/beneficial attractants
  • Space sharers
  • Trap crops

The idea generally is to create a self-sustaining garden environment that will eliminate the need for pesticide or fertilizer applications (unless you count compost as the latter)
In the case of my daffodils, I use rings of them planted around the bases of my fruit trees, apples mostly, in order to keep the gophers at bay. So far so good. And I do enjoy the flowers as well!
For more detailed information on I recommend the excellent book ‘Gaia’s Garden, a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture” by Toby Hemenway.

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