September 14, 2020

Guilding Begins

A sapling apple with recently applied wood mulch. A residential mower/tractor is in the background.A sapling apple with recently applied wood mulch. A residential mower/tractor is in the background.

Things are starting to slow down at the Orchard as the weather cools down. A little at least because there’s still Stuff What Grows everywhere that needs maintenance. But, the major efforts are mostly done.

We are starting to work on projects for next season like preparing plant guilds.

Plant Guilds A guild (or ecological guild) is any group of species that exploit the same resources, or that exploit different resources in related ways.

The idea with guilds s to stack as much utility adn diversity into a small an area as possible. Nature doesn’t waste space so we shouldn’t either.

We planted two apple trees a few months ago and are planning to plant guilding plants early next season as they start to mature. Hopefully, the land will be more productive, still, while the apples grow up.

The easiest way to do that is to sheet mulch under the trees which does a few things.

  1. Suppresses weeds (less maintenance!)
  2. Helps reduce competition for the tree roots
  3. Enriches the soil

Or do it, you rough up the soil. I scraped the grass from the ground and spread it back over the area.

An apple tree sampling with the ground around it scraped and hoed.An apple tree sampling with the ground around it scraped and hoed.

You can see I did a medium thorough job…

Then you lay down cardboard. That keeps the grass there so it can decompose and provide nitrogen (green). The cardboard both acts as a weed barrier and a carbon (brown) source.

An apple sapling with cardboard laid out covering the ground under itAn apple sapling with cardboard laid out covering the ground under it

Make sure you remove any plastic tape off.

Then you cover it in some sort of mulch. We still have some chips left from the last drop so I laid it on pretty thick.

A close up of completed chip mulch 3 inches thickA close up of completed chip mulch 3 inches thick

Then I did it again.

Another sapling with completed sheet mulchingAnother sapling with completed sheet mulching

And that’s it. Some of the best permaculture stuff is the easiest and laziest.


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