Friday, 19 July 2013


We have talked about plant guilds before in our posts and I think that most of you would have tried some guilds or companion planting before in their garden, but for those that don't know about it:

A guild is a combination of plants that are beneficial to each other. Mostly, a guild consists out of three or more different plants where one is a nitrogen fixer to fertilise the ground for the other plants, one plant is the main crop plant that uses the nitrogen and the third plant is acting as pest control for pests likely to damage the main crop plant.
One of the most famous guilds is called "The Three Sisters" and is comprised out of beans (nitrogen fixer), Corn (main crop) and squash(crop). While no pest control is present, these three plants thrive in each others vicinity and yield three different crops while maintain soil fertility.

I have several guilds in my garden. Some of them work really well, others not so well. A lot of the work is trial and error. One of the guilds that is doing fantastic is a combination of beans and peas with tomatoes and calendula. Calendula is supposed to repel the tomato hornworm and also keeps the number of nematodes in the soil in check. The beans and peas are the nitrogen fixer and the tomatoes are for my belly.....yum.

Tomato, beans, peas, and calendula guild
Some of these guilds I plant look chaotic and they certainly don't have to be stacked that dense. I happen to like guerilla camouflage gardening and the patch depicted above came about of me finding more seeds and just sticking them in the ground where there was a spot. The tomatos I did not plant at all, but there was tomatoes growing here last year and the ones in the picture are volunteers. Let's see how they will do. 

I also had some fantastic success planting beans cabbage and wormwood together. Not a bite taken out of the cabbage all year by any bug!!! And this year I am making absinth with the wormwood and other herbs I planted. So while the wormwood is not actually for consumption (it is a toxic plant in higher doses) it can be used to yield a product.

Trying out new combinations of plant guilds is fun and can result in an even more successful garden. In our opinion everyone should try this out. 

1 comment:

  1. I find your post really inspiring. Are there any guilds that can be based around a plum tree. Plums do really well here in Galway and I want to plant one as part of a guild.