This is the article I wrote for our local Fraser Coast QLD magazine “The Beacon”
Grow Healthy Food… Under Your Tree!
There many different ways of growing healthy food: in pots, wicking beds, different kind of raised garden beds, hugelkultur, aquaponics, vertical garden, the list goes on. Depends on the space and available materials, you might choose one or many different ways of growing food in your garden.
One of my favorites is growing food under the trees. The space under the tree is mostly forgotten and it would be a shame not to use it. This method of growing food is called the Permaculture Guild and it is about companion planting. Permaculture Guild is all about putting different elements together which support each other in providing and exchanging nutrients or helping otherwise in a way that all elements benefit from this harmonious collection. The tree gives the so much needed shade to your edible greens during the hot summer days and shelter during cold Winter nights. Planting the right plants like nitrogen fixers and pollinator attracting species helps the tree to thrive. Another great advantage is when you water your edibles, you are watering your tree, too! The set up is very easy and you can start to grow food under your tree within few hours:
- Water the ground around your tree. Any fruit tree is suitable.
- Place a layer of plain cardboard and water generously.
- Distribute a layer of: compost or compost and green material mix like grass clippings or leaves, then some soil and mulch on top. No more than about 15-20cm all together at the most. Leave some space around the trunk for the tree to “breathe” freely.
- Plant your preferred seedlings in and water generously. I have made a good experience with all sorts of leafy greens, herbs like parsley, celery, chives, shallots, also blueberries, wild strawberries and more. Yo can basically plant any small to medium size edibles. Some nitrogen fixers and pollinators should also find their space under the crown of your tree. No root vegetables as this would disturb the roots of your tree when you pull them out.
- Enjoy your homegrown food!
The drawing shows an example of a fruit tree guild. The Permaculture Guild can also include beneficial insects, domestic birds and extend into the entire backyard all working in a harmony making it one of the most important elements of the Permaculture Design. Please contact us if you need help with re-designing your backyard or front yard into a productive food forest. We can help!