Permaculture guilds incorporate various symbiotic animal and plant species into a system built around a central plant in order to ensure maximum production. The organisms in the system work together to ensure that the entire system can meet its needs for food, light, protection and other elements necessary to ensure that it continues to grow and produce items that meet human needs. A permaculture guild has several advantages to offer including:
- Optimal use of space
Climbers and supporters in a permaculture guild allow even farmers with the most limited amount of space to grow sufficient quantities of food. In addition, it is possible to grow diverse types of plants to meet your needs for a balanced diet without needing too much space.
- Increased soil nutrition
Many permaculture guilds utilize nitrogen fixing plants such as legumes, clover and Lucerne which convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and fix it into the soil for use by other plants. In addition, mulches, composts and animal manure help to increase the nutrition of the soil and ultimately result in increased plant yields.
- Pest Control
In addition to integrating several plants in a symbiotic scheme, guild planting also uses several beneficial insects and animals for pollination, to provide fertilizer and control pests. Ducks can be used to control slugs, ladybirds eat aphids and birds eat insects while they are still in their larvae stage before they can begin to wreck havoc on your plants. Planting insect and animal attracting plants and flowers will help to draw these beneficial species to your garden and keep pests at bay. Using natural methods and leaving out chemicals means that these dangerous substances are less likely to seep into the produce you grow and put your health at risk.
- Better tasting food
Some plants enhance the flavor of other plants around them if they are planted together. For instance, strawberries intercropped with borage will result in a great improvement in the flavor of the former.
- Guarantee of yields
Layering or stacking different plants in a guild allows you to plant as many different species as you need to in order to ensure that the entire system provides you with adequate yields to meet your food or fuel needs. Having diverse species guarantees a harvest as even if some of the crops fail, you still have backup yields from the other plants.
Permaculture guilds have myriad benefits to offer adherents. This type of planting is a sustainable and renewable way to meet your material needs without adverse effects on the environment. If you wish to learn more about how permaculture guilds can improve your life, the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute offers several courses to help you get started on this important and life changing practice.