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20 Plant Polycultures and Guilds

(A Sample For Northeastern USA and other temperate areas). Based on a PDF by Aaron Lemire.

Copyright 2017 AARON LEMIRE

Table of Contents

Introduction

You may have heard of food forests or forest gardens. These systems of life forms from all the kingdoms are usually tailored to the location, available resources, the goals of the gardener(s) and their management style.

In an effort to make the benefits of these systems easier to use by small scale gardeners, many people have developed, guilds, polycultures, and plant communities which “form healthy, interacting networks that reduce the gardener’s labor, yield abundant gifts for people and wildlife, and help the environment.”1

A few of these polycultures have been collected here, along with brief descriptions, as an introduction or quick reference guide for anyone interested.

It is highly suggested that the reader also get a copy of Plant Guilds by Bryce Ruddock. It is available for free at the Midwest Permaculture website. It is also highly recommended that the reader continue researching the plants discussed in this text to gain a complete understanding of their abilities, roles, needs and dangers.

Video: Toby Hemenway discusses permaculture plant basics including designing a successful plant guild.

Video: Eric Toensmeier: perennial polyculture guidelines. Tips on designing successful perennial polycultures - the building block of edible forest gardens.

Video: Eric Toensmeier edible forest garden. A persimmon polyculture.

Preparation

For any of these polycultures to work, the necessary resources must be available. Soil, sun and water must be on hand with the appropriate qualities.

It is highly suggested that the gardener have the soil tested and analyzed by a soil testing lab. The test(s) should include analysis to determine concentrations of lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic if possible. Compare the results of the soil test(s) to the requirements of the plants you intend to grow, as well as the maximum allowable concentrations of heavy metals as defined by the EPA and FDA. Information about regional testing labs should be available through a Google search, your local Co-op Extension Office if there is one, and the agriculture department of your local college.

The following are suggested chemical characteristics for a garden of annuals:

Soluble salts: Less than 2500 ppm
pH: 6-7
Organic Matter: 5-8%
CEC (Cation Exchange Ratio): 7-15 (Less than 5 is bad. CEC can be higher than 15, and that is okay.)
Cu: 0.8-1.2 ppm
Mn: 4-8 ppm
Fe: 6-10 ppm
Zn: 1-2 ppm
B: 0.5-12 ppm

1Gaia's Garden pg. 12

2The above recommended soil chemistry and concentrations of trace elements are derived from Stacey Murphy's Online Grow Your Own Vegetables gardening course. Enrollment is avaiable about twice a year at http://bkfarmyards.com/food-growing-essentials-online- course

Heavy Metal Concentration (In Soil) Limits Per The Clean Water Act Section 503.13

Table 3 of § 503.13 - Pollutant Concentrations

Pollutant Monthly average concentration (milligrams per kilogram) 1

Arsenic

41

Cadmium

39

Copper

1500

Lead

300

Mercury

17

Nickel

420

Selenium

100

Zinc

2800

Another set of recommended trace element concentration levels has been found. These guidelines appear to originate from a lab in Washington state; the caption references UNIBEST International LLC.

Soil Trace Elements

Soil texture should also be analyzed, so the gardener has an idea if other amendments are needed (e.g. plants that require a lot of water may die of dehydration in very sandy soil).

Polycultures of Annuals:

A Simple Companion Group

1. Carrots [65 DTM (days to maturity)]

2. Lettuce [28 DTM]

3. Onions [90 – 110 DTM]

"In annual polycultures, filling root space and vertical space with different plants is seen as a way to get more use out of a particular volume of space. Since the onions grow taller than the carrots, they will not be shaded too much. Since the lettuce requires less light, being shaded by the carrots will not be a problem. The root systems of the three plants grow to different depths and so should not impede each other."3

Plant these three vegetables together. Standard spacings: Onions: 4”-6”, Carrots: 1”-2”, Lettuce (leaf): 1”-3”.

3Gaia's Garden pg. 142

Daucus carota sativus

Carrot

Biennial
Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Daucus carota sativus

Lactuca sativa

Lettuce

Annual
Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Semi-shade, Sun
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa

Allium cepa

Onion

Annual
Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Allium cepa

Four Sisters

NOTE: This guild works best when using corn, pole beans and squash varieties that can be stored for several months after harvest.

The guild is a synergistic combination of structures and applied ecology that can produce good yields. The corn provides a trellis for the pole beans. The sprawling squash shades the ground which suppresses weeds and lowers ground temperature if it is planted at the correct time. The beans add nitrogen to the soil. The RMB Plant can be used several ways and attracts insects which will pollinate the squash and bean flowers—thus increasing the squash and bean yield.

1. Pole Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris):

Niche: Strong, annual vine.
Habitat: Disturbed earth, water: average water needs, sun: 8+hrs.
Notable Products: Edible beans.

2. Corn (Zea mays):

Niche: Annual, Herbaceous.
Habitat: Enriched and disturbed soils.
Notable Products: Sweet corn, dent corn or a multistalked cultivar creates a trellis for the beans.

3. Sprawling Vine Squash (Cucurbita):

Niche: Ground cover, weed prevention.
Habitat: Enriched and disturbed soils. Full - partial sun, water needs depends on type of squash grown.
Notable Products: Edible Squash

4. Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome serrulata)

Niche: Nectary, insect attractant.
Habitat: Eight+ hrs direct sun, drought tolerant, disturbed soil.
Notable Products: Edible seeds, medicine, nectar, and dye.

Phaseolus vulgaris

French Bean, Kidney bean


Height H: 2m or 7ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Phaseolus vulgaris

Zea mays

Sweet Corn, Corn


Height H: 2m or 7ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Zea mays

Cucurbita argyrosperma

Cushaw Pumpkin


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Cucurbita argyrosperma

Cucurbita maxima

Winter Squash


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Cucurbita maxima

Cucurbita moschata

Squash, Crookneck squash


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Cucurbita moschata

Cucurbita pepo

Pumpkin, Field pumpkin, Ozark melon, Texas gourd


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Cucurbita pepo

Cleome serrulata

Rocky Mountain Beeplant


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Cleome serrulata

Other Potential Companions:

Marigold – Beneficial aromatic.
Icicle Radish – Edible seed pods, said to prevents vine borer.
Amaranth – Said to be another companion to corn. Good chicken feed.
Ragweed – Ladybug attractant.4 (plant sparsely. Do not allow it to set seed)
Tomatillos – Edible fruit. (Purple tomatillos have been successfully used as a companion in a three sisters garden in Michigan. See MiWilderness's youtube channel for more information)

Some evidence indicates the four sisters may have been used to create food that can be stored over winter. If this is your intent, it is important to use a winter squash, beans that can be easily shelled, dried and stored; and dent/flint/flour corn.

4 Other ladybug attractant plants include, but are not limited to: Garlic, Geranium, Dill, Bachelor's Button, Calendula, Sweet Alyssum, Cilantro, Parsley, Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot), Tansy, Fennel, Yarrow, Coreopsis, Chives, Coneflower, Coriander, and Buckwheat

Instructions: Almost any corn variety that is fit for your region will work. However, Gaia's Garden suggests using a multi-stalk cultivar, or corn that has a history of being used in this guild, such as Hopi White, Tarahumara, or Black Aztec. Plant vining squash with dent/flint corn. A bush type squash is suggested when growing sweet corn, sorghum or whenever the stalk crop will be harvested before the squash is mature.

Mounds of dirt can be used to help keep the corn seedlings warm and aid drainage. It is therefore suggested to plant the groups of kernals at least three feet apart. If this is your first time growing the four sisters, it may be a good idea to give the groups even more space.

Plant several kernels, approximately 1" deep. To get a rough estimate of yield, it is suggested the gardener assumes a yield of 4-5 ears per group of kernels.

Once the sprouts are tall enough, start hoeing the soil into mounds around them but do not cover them completely. The mounds are meant to increase drainage and reduce the daily temperature swings felt by the young sprouts.

It is suggested to plant several kernels since the germination rate and the number of stalks that grow from each group cannot be known beforehand. If more than three stalks grow from each group, cut the smallest ones (pulling them will disturb the root system of the other seedlings).5

Two weeks after the corn, select a vining bean coated with the correct legume inoculant. To ensure enough beans germinate plant more than one bean per mound.”

Plant squash or pumpkins between each mound when you plant the beans. Only use a vining squash if you grow dent or flint corn. They have stronger stalks and are less likely to break if the squash grows up the stalk. Do not grow Zucchini. Consider growing bush squash if you want to be able to walk within your garden before the squash is mature.

Other than that, grow the crops by following the suggestions that come with the seeds. After harvest, leave the plant matter to rot on the ground. This should return some fertility to the soil and protect against erosion and desiccation.

* NOTE: Leaving the plant matter on soil may be a dicey move. Diseases that may have been present in the crops can reside in the detritus for some time and possibly proliferate next year. Ultimately it is the gardener's decision. Other reasons to leave the plant matter on top of the soil include: reduced creation of hardpan, reduced temperature of surface soil in warm months.

* NOTE: If the gardener is unsure of how much nitrogen is available in the soil, it may be necessary to cut 50% or more of the bean vines at the base just before they flower to ensure a large amount of accumulated nitrogen is available for the other plants. However, other sources indicate there will be nitrogen available even if the vines are allowed to fruit.

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome serrulata)

“Rocky Mountain Bee Plant has historically been used by humans as a nutritious food source, a medicinal treatment for many ailments, and as a dye for coloring fabric and pottery. All parts of the plant can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. Drinking an infusion of the plant relieves stomach ache and reduces fever. Applied as a compress, it soothes sore eyes. A yellow-green dye is made by boiling the leaves, and a black dye is made by boiling the woody stems for an extended period of time.“6

Bonus: A number of other plants have also been grown with the four sisters. It is suggested that the reader does their due diligence and research any companion(s) that they intend to add to the polyculture. Companions that may compete for nutrients, sun and root space may reduce yields.

5 This is a planting/growing method described by Gaia's Garden. There are others. Please take into account your resources when deciding on a particular strategy. I have not found a detailed account of anyone's experience growing this guild using sorghum instead of corn. If you have grown the guild with sorghum, or know someone who has, please add it and the lessons learned and post the new document. Please give the appropriate attributions.

6United States Department of Agriculture NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE Plant Materials Technical Note No. MT-104.

Four Sisters Guild

Illustration 1: A potential crop layout for the four sisters.

Amaranthus blitum

Slender Amaranth, Purple amaranth


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Amaranthus blitum

Amaranthus cruentus

Purple Amaranth, Red amaranth


Height H: 2m or 7ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Amaranthus cruentus

Amaranthus hybridus

Rough Pigweed, Slim amaranth


Height H: 2m or 7ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 12
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Amaranthus hybridus

Amaranthus hypochondriacus

Prince's Feather, Prince-of-wales feather


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Amaranthus hypochondriacus

Amaranthus tricolor

Chinese Spinach, Joseph's-coat, Fountain Plant, Tampala , Summer Poinsettia


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Amaranthus tricolor

Ambrosia artemesiifolia

Roman Wormwood, Bitterweed, Blackweed, Carrot Weed, Hay Fever Weed, Stickeweed, Tassel Weed, Wild Ta


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Ambrosia artemesiifolia

Ambrosia trifida

Giant Ragweed, Great ragweed, Texan great ragweed, Bitterweed, Bloodweed, Buffalo Weed, Horse Cane


Height H: 2m or 7ft
Hardiness Zones: 1 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Ambrosia trifida

Physalis ixocarpa

Tomatillo


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Physalis ixocarpa

Raphanus sativus

Radish, Cultivated radish


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 0 to 0
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Raphanus sativus

Raphanus sativus niger

Oriental Radish


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Raphanus sativus niger

Tagetes erecta

African Marigold, Aztec marigold, Big Marigold, American Marigold


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Tagetes erecta

Tagetes patula

French Marigold, Dwarf French Marigold


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Tagetes patula

Tagetes tenuifolia

Lemon Marigold, Striped Mexican Marigold, Signet Marigold


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Tagetes tenuifolia

Ianto Evan's Polyculture of Annuals

Ianot's polyculture is similar to natural succession in that the plants grow, ripen, bloom, set fruit, and drop seed at different speeds. The polyculture contains plants of different sizes and shapes. These plants create a variety of habitats as they mature within the garden bed. They aid the development of some of their close neighbors. The attributes of this polyculture include harvestable material through several months of the growing season, reduced evaporation due to tight spacing and broad leaves, pest control via the garlic, and attraction of beneficial insects via the dill and buckwheat.

Early maturing cabbage

Lettuce (loose leaf and heat tolerant)

Late maturing cabbage

varieties)

Radish

Buckwheat

Dill

Bushbeans

Parsnip

Favabeans

Calendula

Garlic cloves

Prepare approximately 20 square feet of garden bed for each person who consumes the harvested crops.

• 30 days before the last freeze, cover the bed with 1” - 3” of compost.

• Approximately 14 days before the last freeze date: Start five cabbage plants (in cold frames or greenhouse) for every twenty square feet of the garden plot. The cabbages will be transplanted into the holes left by the first radish harvest. To spread the cabbage harvest over a longer period of time, plant early- and fall -maturing cabbage.

• Week One: (The week after the final freeze date in your area): Plant parsnip, radish, dill, calendula, and lettuce seeds. For a long harvest season, select varieties of fast and slow maturing lettuce. A group of heat-tolerant and loose-leaf cultivars can lengthen the lettuce season into summer. Several varieties to consider include romaine, butter, iceberg, Summertime or Optima. Broadcast each seed type separately over the entire bed. This should create a mixed planting. Aim for one seed for every 2”-3” square inches of space. Gently add a quarter-inch layer of compost and water with a shower nozzle or other widespread and low kinetic energy setting.

• Week Four: Harvest the mature radishes. Plant cabbage seedlings in the holes. Keep the seedlings approximately eighteen inches apart.

• Week Six: Begin harvesting the lettuce. The dense sowing of the different lettuce varieties should yield a blend of edibles when the plants are immature. Harvest the entire plant if you wish to make space for the other plants to grow. Assuming the correct lettuce cultivars were chosen and thinning continues, the remaining lettuce will continue to grow for several months.

• Late Spring/Early Summer: After the soil has warmed to 60 deg F (15C), plant inoculated bush beans in the areas opened by the, now dead, dead early season lettuce. Plant buckwheat into any other openings develop in early summer (their young leaves are edible). The dill and calendula should be ready for harvest after the lettuce (blossoms of calendula are edible). Watch for early maturing cabbages. The beans may mature in this time period as well.

• Fall: Parsnips are mature or close to maturity. If they are left in the ground too long, the root will become hard. Harvest them sooner rather than later. As autumn progresses, more space in the bed will become available. If your winter is mild, consider planting fava beans and garlic. 7,8,9

7 The above polyculture is a paraphrased version of Ianto Evans polyculture as described in Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway. I have changed text and removed some warnings about alternate and inferior techniques. If you follow the directions, and water it adequately, the polyculture should grow successfully.

8 Could scallions or onions be over wintered as well?

9 I'm not sure a mild winter is necessary for overwintering garlic.

Allium sativum

Garlic, Cultivated garlic


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Allium sativum

Anethum graveolens

Dill


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Anethum graveolens

Brassica carinata

Abyssinian Cabbage


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 9 to 12
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica carinata

Brassica oleracea

Wild Cabbage, Broccoli, Tronchuda cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Kohlrabi, Sprouting broccoli


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea

Brassica oleracea capitata

Cabbage,Ornamental Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea capitata

Brassica oleracea sabauda

Savoy Cabbage


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea sabauda

Calendula officinalis

calendula, Pot Marigold


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Calendula officinalis

Fagopyrum esculentum

Buckwheat


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Fagopyrum esculentum

Lactuca sativa

Lettuce, Garden lettuce


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa

Lactuca sativa crispa

Cutting Lettuce


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa crispa

Lactuca sativa longifolia

Cos Lettuce


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa longifolia

Pastinaca sativa

Parsnip, Wild parsnip


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Pastinaca sativa

Raphanus sativus

Radish, Cultivated radish


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Raphanus sativus

Raphanus sativus niger

Oriental Radish


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Raphanus sativus niger

Vicia faba major

Broad Bean, Fava Bean


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Vicia faba major

Jajarkot's Polyculture of Annuals

This polyculture starts in the Spring with a thick cover of palatable greens interspersed with slower- maturing plants. As the greens are harvested, beans and other vegetables replace them. This polyculture can yield food for 6-8 months of the year, depending on the climate zone. In the northern climates, season extension devices can be used. Spun row cover, greenhouse plastic over the bed, or cold frames can extend the productivity of the garden well into early Spring and late Autumn. 10

Cabbage Cauliflower
Broccoli Radishes
Chard Lettuces
Carrots Fennel
Dill Coriander
Fava beans Bush Beans
Alliums (onions, garlic, chives, leeks) Mustard Greens Mix (Osaka, Purple mustard, tat tsoi, mizuna, garden cress, etc.)
Cool season Greens (arugula, garden purslane, and shiso). If Spring is warm, in the 80's F, also plant buckwheat.

• One month before the last frost: Spread finished compost on the garden bed. Start a few seedlings of each cabbage, cauliflower, or broccoli indoors. Select a blend of varieties that will ripen over a long season.

• Week One (at the last frost date in your region): Create an edible ground cover by densely a mix of mustard greens (Osaka Purple Mustard, Tatsoi, mizuna, garden cress, and the like) and other cool-season greens such as arugula, garden purslane, and shiso. In regions where spring is warm (May temps reach 80°F 26°C), also sow buckwheat. Young buckwheat greens are delicious in salads and stirfry. Then add some salad crops. Lightly sow the seeds of radishes, chard, lettuces, and carrots among the previously sown seeds. Herb seeds go in next. Sow fennel, dill and coriander; somewhat more densely than the salad crops, since they don't seem to germinate well. Now add legume seeds to the mix. Push fava beans, bush peas or a blend of these, into the soil roughly one foot apart. Add some of your favorite alliums such as onions, garlic, garlic chives or leeks.

• Weeks two to four: Begin Harvesting the edible ground cover. Don't just trim the leaves; pull the whole plant to create openings. Take care not to disturb the young beans or alliums. Pull a few of the young herbs to thin them out; they'll make a tangy addition to salads and stews. In some of the resulting gaps, plant cabbage, cauliflower, or broccoli seedlings about 18 inches apart.

• Late Spring/Early Summer: When soil temperatures reach 60°F/15°C, plant basil and bush beans in the openings. As the spring warms up, many of the greens will bolt. Speed up your harvesting of these to eliminate them before they set seed. Alternatively, if you want to naturalize these greens in your garden, let a few go to seed, then pull the whole plant and lay it on the soil to compost and reseed. Continue harvesting all the plants as they mature or crowd. 11

10 Paraphrased from -Gaia's Garden pg. 146

11 Reprinted from Gaia's Garden, copyright Toby Hemenway, with the permission of Chelsea Green Publishing (www.chelseagreen.com)

Allium cepa

Onion, Garden onion


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Allium cepa

Allium sativum

Garlic, Cultivated garlic


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Allium sativum

Allium schoenoprasum

Chives, Wild chives, Flowering Onion


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Allium schoenoprasum

Anethum graveolens

Dill


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Anethum graveolens

Beta vulgaris cicla

Spinach Beet


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Beta vulgaris cicla

Beta vulgaris flavescens

Swiss Chard


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Beta vulgaris flavescens

Brassica juncea integrifolia crispifolia

Curled Mustard


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 10
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica juncea integrifolia crispifolia

Brassica juncea integrifolia rugosa

Head Mustard


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 10
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica juncea integrifolia rugosa

Brassica oleracea botrytis

Cauliflower


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea botrytis

Brassica oleracea capitata

Cabbage,Ornamental Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea capitata

Brassica oleracea italica

Broccoli


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea italica

Brassica oleracea sabauda

Savoy Cabbage


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica oleracea sabauda

Brassica rapa nipposinica

Mizuna


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Brassica rapa nipposinica

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander - Dhania - Cilantro, Coriander


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Coriandrum sativum

Daucus carota sativus

Carrot


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Daucus carota sativus

Eruca vesicaria sativa

Rocket


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Eruca vesicaria sativa

Fagopyrum esculentum

Buckwheat


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones:6 to 12
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Fagopyrum esculentum

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel, Sweet fennel


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Foeniculum vulgare

Lactuca sativa

Lettuce, Garden lettuce


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa

Lactuca sativa crispa

Cutting Lettuce


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa crispa

Lactuca sativa longifolia

Cos Lettuce


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Lactuca sativa longifolia

Portulaca oleracea

Green Purslane, Little hogweed


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 12
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Portulaca oleracea

Raphanus sativus

Radish, Cultivated radish


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones:2 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Raphanus sativus

Vicia faba major

Broad Bean, Fava Bean


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Vicia faba major

Polycultures of Perennials

Tree Polycultures:

Beach Plum Tree Guild

(Polycultures: Permaculture Activist Magazine February 2013, Eric Toensmeier)

Notes: This is a polyculture with flowering plum and groundcover, edible Spring vegetables, and edible Camas bulbs. Also, I don't see a nitrogen-fixer in this group.

1. Beach Plum (Prunus maritima)

This fruiting shrub can grow to over 12 feet (4m) and produces small, delicious plums.

Niche: Deciduous shrub

Habitat: Average water needs, full to partial sun.

Notable Products: Edible fruit

2. Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

This is a beautiful groundcover that attracts beneficial insects and can be grown in partial shade and moist soils.

Niche: Groundcover.

Habitat: Requires consistently moist soil that drain, full sun to partial shade.

Notable Products: Nectar

3. Dwarf Coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata nana)

This is another beautiful groundcover that attracts beneficial insects.

Niche: Herbaceous perennial.

Habitat: Full sun, medium water needs, said to be native to open woods in South Eastern US, so it probably can survive in a variety of soil types.

Notable Products: Nectar, pollen.

4. Ramps (Allium tricoccum)

a.k.a. Wild Leeks. Early Spring vegetables growing well in the shade.

Niche: Herbaceous perennial

Habitat: Shaded woodlands, average water needs, prefers wet and acid soils. Tolerates Juglone.

Notable Products: Edible leaves and bulbs.

5. Camas (Camassia quamash)

Edible bulbs and has flowers that attract beneficial insects.

Niche: Small Herbaceous Plant

Habitat: Full sun to light shade, prefers moist soil, pH: 5.1-7.5 (tolerates a wide range of soil conditions)

Notable Products: Nectar, pollen, edible bulb.

Allium tricoccum

Wood Leek, Ramp


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Allium tricoccum

Camassia quamash

Quamash, Small camas, Utah small camas, Walpole's small camas


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Camassia quamash

Chrysogonum virginianum

Golden-knee, Green and Gold, or Goldenstar


Height H: 0.2m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade, Shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Chrysogonum virginianum

Coreopsis auriculata

Tickseed, Lobed tickseed,Mouse-eared Coreopsis, Eared Coreopsis


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Coreopsis auriculata

Prunus maritima

Beach Plum, Graves' plum


Height H: 2.5m or 9ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Prunus maritima

Paw Paw Tree Guild

(Polycultures: Permaculture Activist Magazine February 2013, Eric Toensmeier)

1. Pawpaw (Asimina triloba, perennial)

Niche: Understory Tree

Habitat: Consistently moist soil, full sun, prefers loamy and well-drained soils.

Notable Products: Edible fruit, leaf matter every fall.

2. Ramps (Allium tricoccum)

a.k.a. Wild Leeks. Early Spring vegetables and grows well in the shade

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Requires at least partial shade, can grow in sandy and loamy soils, medium water

Notable Products: Edible leaves, flowers, bulb.

3. Hog Peanuts (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

Edible seeds and 'roots' which are really seeds that develop underground. Shade-loving. Climb up and sprawl out (smothering weeds), and fix nitrogen.

Niche: Vine

Habitat: Full sun to light shade, moist conditions, and soil containing sand or loam.

Notable Products: Edible beans, edible roots

Notes: Ramps will grow well under Pawpaws, and will die back just when Hog Peanuts are getting large. If you do want to go through the trouble of harvesting the Hog Peanuts, there are no other actively growing plants in that layer during harvest time. The fruiting Pawpaw will benefit from the nitrogen produced by the Hog Peanut.

Allium tricoccum

Wood Leek, Ramp


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Allium tricoccum

Amphicarpaea bracteata

Hog Peanut, American hogpeanut


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
Light Shade, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Amphicarpaea bracteata

Asimina triloba

Papaw


Height H: 4.5m or 15ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Asimina triloba

Apple Tree Guild:

(Terra Genesis International)

1. Appletree (Malus pumila) (perennial)

Niche: Overstory and understory tree (can grow and fruit in some shade).

Habitat: Can survive in a variety of soils with high nitrogen and potassium resources. Average water needs. Full sun.

Notable Products: Fruit, wood, nectar

2. Dwarf Comfrey (Symphytum Grandiflorum):

Niche: Dynamic Accumulator. Shelter for insects. Nectary. Green mulch.

Habitat: Prefers full sun. Tolerates light shade (about 50%). Moist but well-drained soil.

Moisture: Medium. Some species can be more drought tolerant. pH: tolerates a wide range (6.5-8.5).

Notable Products: Sheep and chicken food.

3. Chickory (Cichorium intybus):

Niche: Nectary. Taproot. Insect shelter. Dynamic accumulator.

Habitat: Disturbed land and roadsides. Prefers full sun. Tolerates light to moderate shade.

Moisture: Medium moisture requirements. pH: (4.5-8.5).

Notable Products: Edible roots and leaves (cooked and variety dependant)

4. Wild Chives (Allium schoenoprasum):

Niche: Dynamic accumulator, nectary, Groundcover, Aromatic.

Habitat: Full-partial sun. pH: neutral - basic. Average water needs. Can grow in a limited variety of soils but does best in fertile loam.

Notable Products: Edible leaves.

5. Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata):

Niche: Invertebrate shelter. Nectary. Aromatic.

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade. Neutral to basic pH.

Notable Products: Edible greens and roots.

Anisse hyssop (Agastache foeniculum):

Niche: Invertebrate shelter. Nectary. Aromatic.

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade. Neutral pH.

Notable Products: Flavoring for tea and several medicinal uses.

6. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Niche: Nectary. Invertebrate shelter. Groundcover. Dynamic Accumulator.

Habitat: Prefers full sun. Tolerates moderate shade.

Moisture: Can tolerate dry to medium moisture soils. pH: (5.1 - 7.5)

Notable Products: Rumored to be an edible green, however, some people may have an allergic reaction to it.

7. Clover (Trifolium repens)

Niche: Nitrifier. Nectary.

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade. Acidic to neutral pH. Semi-drought tolerant. Grows in a variety of soil types.

Notable Products: Leaves and flowers used in teas.

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow, Boreal yarrow, California yarrow, Giant yarrow, Coast yarrow, Western yarrow, Pacific yarrow


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Achillea millefolium

Agastache foeniculum

Anise Hyssop, Blue giant hyssop


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Agastache foeniculum

Allium schoenoprasum

Chives, Wild chives, Flowering Onion


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Allium schoenoprasum

Cichorium intybus

Chicory, Radicchio, Succory, Witloof


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Cichorium intybus

Malus pumila

Paradise Apple, Common Apple, Apple Tree


Height H: 7m or 23ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Malus pumila

Myrrhis odorata

Sweet Cicely, Anise


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Myrrhis odorata

Symphytum grandiflorum

Ground Cover Comfrey, Comfrey


Height H: 0.4m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Shade, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Symphytum grandiflorum

Trifolium repens

White Clover, Dutch Clover, Purple Dutch Clover, Shamrock, White Clover


Height H: 0.1m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Trifolium repens

Red Alder Tree Guild:

(Polycultures: Permaculture Activist Magazine February 2013, Eric Toensmeier)

1. Red Alder (Alnus rubra):

Niche: Large Tree. Nectary/Pollen Production. Nitrifier. Wind-break

Habitat: Prefers full sun to light shade, dry and wet soils. Prefers a neutral pH

Notable Products: Wood

2. Chinese Yam (Dioscorea polystachya/Dioscorea batatas):

Niche: Herbaceous twining vine.

Habitat: Full sun – light shade. Moist soil. 6.1-7.8 pH

Notable Products: Large edible tubers, smaller aerial tubers.

3. Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus):

Niche: Groundcover. Nitrifier. Insect attractant.

Habitat: Average water needs. Full sun. A variety of soil types.

Notable Products: Nectar. Nitrate nodules.

4. Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Direct Sun. Loamy soil. Average water needs

Notable Products: Large, mild-tasting bulbs

5. Kurrat Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum):

Niche: Herbaceous Layer. Prefers direct sun with well drained soil

Habitat: Woodland garden sunny edge; Dappled Shade; Hedgerow NOT native to the USA.

Notable Products: Flowers, leaves, and bulb are edible.

6. Ramps: (Allium tricoccum)

a.k.a. Wild Leeks. Early Spring vegetable. Grows well in the shade.

Niche: Shade-loving herbaceous perennial

Habitat: Rich woods and bottoms, preferring slopes and streamsides. Usually in beech and maple woods. Garden dappled shade; Cultivated Beds

Notable Products: Edible leaves and bulbs.

7. Camas (Camassia quamash):

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Direct sun. Average to wet soil. A variety of soil types.

Notable Products: Edible roots. Nectary

NOTE: The Red Alder is not native to New Jersey, USA. If the user is in the east coast USA, the Black Locust trees may be a good substitute. However, Black locust trees are prone to be killed by the black locust. So one could use a couple of false indigo bushes instead.

NOTE: The Red Alder takes some time to grow as a living trellis for the Chinese Yam. For a few years before the Alder creates significant shade, the inoculated Birdsfoot Trefoil will make a good groundcover that puts nitrogen into the ground. The Elephant Garlic, Kurrat Leeks, and Birdsfoot Trefoil require full sun to grow well, so these are perfect initial plantings until the Alder grows. The Chinese Yams can take a few years to develop large underground tubers but will produce aerial tubers right away so there will be a small crop as the main crop is developing. As the Alder begins to produce heavy shade, the garlic and leeks will slow down production and the Ramps and Camas, which were already being harvested, will take over as they are able to grow in the shade. As the Birdsfoot Trefoil dies back, the nitrogen production will continue with the Alder.

Alnus rubra

Red Alder, Oregon Alder


Height H: 20m or 66ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist or wet

Alnus rubra

Dioscorea batatas

Chinese Yam


Height H: 3m or 10ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 11
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Dioscorea batatas

Lotus corniculatus

Bird's Foot Trefoil


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Lotus corniculatus

Allium ampeloprasum

Wild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek


Height H: 1.8m or 6ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Allium ampeloprasum

Allium tricoccum

Wood Leek, Ramp


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Allium tricoccum

Camassia quamash

Quamash, Small camas, Utah small camas, Walpole's small camas


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Camassia quamash

Mulberry Tree Guild

(From Perennial Polycultures Ethan Roland, Mai Frank Forest Garden Immersion Course 2009.)

1. Black Mulberry (Morus nigra)

Niche: Food and coppicable branch and leaf matter.

Habitat: Full to partial sun. Slightly acidic – basic soil pH.

Notable Products: Fruit, Leaves (leaves must be new and boiled for 20 minutes)

2. Seaberry (Hippophae rhamnoides).

Niche: Nitrogen Fixer (if inoculated with actinorhizal bacteria)

Habitat: Full sun to light shade. 5.5 - 8.5 pH, permenantly moist but well drained soil.

Notable Products: berries, nectary, charcoal, soap, dye.

3. Hardy kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa, Actinidia arguta, and Actinidia kolomikta)

Niche: Vine, produces fruit.

Habitat: Light: Full Sun (preferable)/Shade: Tolerates moderate shade /Moisture: Medium /pH: 5.1-8.5

Notable Products: Fruit. HIGHLY INVASIVE.

4. Russian Comfrey - Symphytum uplandicum

(Bocking 14): 6' - 8' root depth, spreads by rhizomes, sterile seeds.

Russian Comfrey (Bocking 4): 8' - 10' root depth, spreads by rhizomes, sterile seeds. Niche: Dynamic Accumulator, Shelter for insects, nectary, Green mulch.

Habitat: Light: Prefers full sun Shade: Tolerates light shade (about 50%), moist but well drained soil.

Moisture: Medium, some species can be a bit more drought tolerant pH: tolerates a wide range (6.5-8.5)

Notable Products: Sheep and chicken food.

5. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)

Niche: N fixer, dynamic accumulator, insect nectary

Habitat: Light: Prefers full sun Shade: Tolerates partial shade. Russian Licorice tolerates more shade.

Moisture: Prefers moist soils. American Licorice can tolerate more dry conditions once established. pH: 6.1-7.8 (see tcpermaculture.com for more details)

Notable Products: Edible shoots and roots.

6. Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)

Niche: Herbaceous Dynamic accumulator, nectar producer.

Habitat: Shade: Most species tolerate light shade, although some can tolerate moderate shade. Moisture: Dry to medium-moisture soils pH: 3.5-8.5 (see tcpermaculture.com for more details)

Notable Products: Edible leaves(in the Spring), roots, flowers and seeds.

7. Gold star (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Niche: Ground cover. Flowers April-June

Habitat: Light Requirement: Part Shade Soil Moisture: Moist Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) Soil Description: Moist, but well-drained, to drier soils.

Notable Products: Nectar, pollen

8. Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Niche: invertabrate shelter, nectary, aromatic.

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade. Neutral to basic pH.

Notable Products: Edible greens and roots.

King Strofaria – Niche: Fungi, consumes dead wood. Habitat: Forest Floor, wood chip beds Notable Products: Edible mushroom caps (cooked).

Morus nigra

Black Mulberry


Height H: 10m or 33ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Morus nigra

Hippophae rhamnoides

Sea Buckthorn, Seaberry


Height H: 6m or 20ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun
Moisture Dry, moist or wet

Hippophae rhamnoides

Actinidia arguta

Tara Vine


Height H: 15m or 50ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Actinidia arguta

Actinidia deliciosa

Kiwi Fruit


Height H: 9m or 30ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Actinidia deliciosa

Symphytum uplandicum

Comfrey


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Symphytum uplandicum

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Liquorice, Cultivated licorice


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Rumex acetosa

Sorrel, Garden sorrel


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Rumex acetosa

Chrysogonum virginianum

Golden-knee, Green and Gold, or Goldenstar


Height H: 0.2m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade, Shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Chrysogonum virginianum

Myrrhis odorata

Sweet Cicely, Anise


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Myrrhis odorata

Mulberry Tree Guild #2

1. Mulberry Tree (Morus nigra):

Niche: Food and coppicable branch and leaf matter

Habitat: Full to partial sun. Slightly acidic – basic soil pH.

Notable Products: Fruit, Leaves (leaves must be new and boiled for 20 minutes)

2. Russian Comfrey: (Symphytum uplandicum)

(Bocking 14): 6' – 8' root depth, spreads by rhizomes, sterile seeds.

Russian Comfrey (Bocking 4): 8' – 10' root depth, spreads by rhizomes, sterile seeds.

Niche: Dynamic Accumulator, Shelter for insects, nectary, Green mulch.

Habitat: Light: Prefers full sun Shade: Tolerates light shade (about 50%), moist but well drained soil.

Moisture: Medium, some species can be a bit more drought tolerant pH: tolerates a wide range (6.5-8.5)

Notable Products: Sheep and chicken food.

3. Dill (Anethum graveolens ):

Niche: Herbaceous Annual, Insect attractant,

Habitat: Disturbed soil.

Notable Products: Aromatic herb. Used in soups, sauces and preserving cucumbers.

4. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum ):

Niche: Perennial flowering herb.

Habitat: Gardens, disturbed soil, Full sun to light shade.

Notable Products: Edible flowers and young leaves.

5. Red clover (Trifolium pratense)

Niche: nitrifier, nectary.

Habitat: Full sun – Partial Shade, acidic to neutral pH.

Notable Products: Leaves and flowers can be used in teas. Use caution.

6. Marigolds (Tagetes):

Niche: Herbaceous beneficial aromatic

Habitat: Disturbed soil, sun, water

Notable Products: Flowers.

Morus nigra

Black Mulberry


Height H: 10m or 33ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Morus nigra

Symphytum uplandicum

Comfrey


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Symphytum uplandicum

Anethum graveolens

Dill


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Anethum graveolens

Tropaeolum majus

Nasturtium, Indian Cress


Height H: 3.5m or 12ft
Hardiness Zones: 8 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Tropaeolum majus

Tropaeolum minus

Dwarf Nasturtium


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 8 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Tropaeolum minus

Trifolium pratense

Red Clover


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Trifolium pratense

Tagetes erecta

African Marigold, Aztec marigold, Big Marigold, American Marigold


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Tagetes erecta

Tagetes patula

French Marigold, Dwarf French Marigold


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Tagetes patula

Perennial Herbaceous Polycultures

(Polycultures 1 – 3 are from “Perennial Polycultures Ethan Roland & Mai Frank Forest Garden Immersion Course 2009.” A slideshow of which can be found at slideshare.net. The slides appear to be pictures of the polycultures that were grown in Toensmeier's and Bate's garden at Holyoke Massachuesetts at one time)

Herbaceous Polyculture 1

1. Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis. odorata)

An erect, aniseed-scented perennial with bright green, 2- to 3-pinnate leaves and white flowers in umbels, followed by spindle-shaped fruits. Medium-size perennial vegetable with beneficial insect-attracting flowers. Tender green seed pods taste like licorice jellybeans. Great for snacking. Roots traditionally used as sweetener. Leaves used as sweet potherb. Seeds disperse widely, deadhead seeds before ripening. (Food Forest Farm)

Niche: aromatic pest confuser

Habitat: Full Sun to Partial Shade, pH: 6.1 – 7.8, average water needs, can grow in a variety of soil,

Notable Products: Nectar.

2. Turkish Rocket (Bunias orientalis )

Invasive. Robust, long-lived plant. Spreads by seed, roots will sprout when damaged. Beautiful yellow flowers, young broccolis are much like broccoli raab - nutty and mustardy. (Food Forest Farm)

Niche: Herbaceous, perennial

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade, grows in many soil types. Drought tolerant.

Notable Products: Edible leaves (cooked), edible buds are similar to broccilli.

3. Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus)

Good-King-Henry has been grown as a vegetable in cottage gardens for hundreds of years, although this dual-purpose vegetable is now rarely grown and the species is more often considered a weed. (Wikipedia)

Niche: Herbaceous, Perennial

Habitat: partial shade, many soil types, prefers moist soil.

Notable Products: Edible leaves. Contains saponins. Eat carefully

4. Russian Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum)

(Bocking 14): 6' – 8' root depth, spreads by rhizomes, sterile seeds.

Russian Comfrey (Bocking 4): 8' – 10' root depth, spreads by rhizomes, sterile seeds. Niche: Dynamic Accumulator, Shelter for insects, nectary, Green mulch

Habitat: Light: Prefers full sun Shade: Tolerates light shade (about 50%), moist but well drained soil.

Moisture: Medium, some species can be a bit more drought tolerant pH: tolerates a wide range (6.5-8.5)

Notable Products: Sheep and chicken food.

5. Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum)

This perennial scallion forms clumps, which can be thinned for harvest once or twice a year. Mild flavor with just the right amount oniony zing.

Niche: Perennial, Herbaceous

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade, average water needs, does well in fertile soil

Notable Products: Edible bulbs, Aromatic

Myrrhis odorata

Sweet Cicely, Anise


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Myrrhis odorata

Bunias orientalis

Turkish Rocket, Turkish wartycabbage


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Bunias orientalis

Chenopodium bonus-henricus

Good King Henry


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Chenopodium bonus-henricus

Symphytum grandiflorum

Ground Cover Comfrey, Comfrey


Height H: 0.4m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Shade, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Symphytum grandiflorum

Allium fistulosum

Welsh Onion


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Allium fistulosum

Herbaceous Polyculture 2

1. Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea)

Niche: Produces edible berries. Nectar source.

Habitat: Full sun, moist soil, acidic to neutral pH.

Notable Products: Berries.

NOTE: Honey berry do not self pollenate.

2. Prostrate Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus cornicuatus)

Niche: Nitrogen fixer, insect attractant, ground cover.

Habitat: lightly acidic soil. Tolerates low and moderately fertile soil.

Notable Products: Nectar, cover for birds, edible greens for wildlife.

3. Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Niche: Herbaceous , invertabrate shelter, nectary, aromatic pest confuser12.

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade. Neutral to basic pH.

Notable Products: Edible greens and roots.

4. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Niche: invertabrate Shelter, nectary, Aromatic.

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade, Neutral pH.

Notable Products: Flavoring for tea and a number of medicinal uses.

Lonicera caerulea

Sweetberry honeysuckle, Bluefly honeysuckle, Haskap berry


Height H: 2m or 7ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Lonicera caerulea

Lotus corniculatus

Bird's Foot Trefoil


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Lotus corniculatus

Myrrhis odorata

Sweet Cicely, Anise


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Myrrhis odorata

Agastache foeniculum

Anise Hyssop, Blue giant hyssop


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Agastache foeniculum

Herbaceous Polyculture 3

1. Siberian Pea Shrub (Caragana arborescens)

Niche: Bush, nitrifier, nectary.

Habitat: Shade: Full Sun. Soil: Sandy/Loamy soil, acidic-neutral-basic pH.

Notable Products: Flowers, Seed pods, leaves

2. Sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus - L )

Niche: Tall Herbaceous , invertabrate Shelter, nectary.

Habitat: Shade: Full sun. Soil: 6.6 to 7.5 pH

Notable Products: Edible tuber.

3. Water celery (Oenanthe javanica)

Niche: Aquatic Herbaceous

Habitat: High water demand. Bog soil. Full sun to partial shade. (can be invasive).

Notable Products: Edible greens.

4. Dutch White clover (Trifolium repens)

Niche: Ground cover, nitrifier, nectary.

Habitat: Full sun – Partial Shade, acidic to neutral pH, fields, disturbed soils.

Notable Products: Leaves and flowers used in teas.

12 To our knowledge, this has not been proven yet.

Caragana arborescens

Siberian Pea Tree, Siberian peashrub


Height H: 6m or 20ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 7
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Caragana arborescens

Helianthus tuberosus

Jerusalem Artichoke


Height H: 2.4m or 8ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Helianthus tuberosus
"

Oenanthe javanica

Water Dropwort, Java waterdropwort, Stolon waterdropwort


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Wet or water

Oenanthe javanica

Trifolium repens

White Clover, Dutch Clover, Purple Dutch Clover, Shamrock, White Clover


Height H: 0.1m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Trifolium repens

Herbaceous Polyculture 4

(Edible Forest Gardens Vol. 1 pg.325)

1. Milkvetch (Astragalus glycyphyllos):

Niche: Nitrogen Fixer, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Ground Cover

Habitat: Cultivated Beds, loamy soil, direct sun

Notable Products:

2. Seakale (Crambe maritima):

Niche: Herbaceous , General nectary.

Habitat: Full sun, moist soil, drought tolerant.

Notable Products: Edible roots, shoots (like asparagus), leaves (like kale, cabbage, or spinach) and flowers/buds. Note: Do NOT eat in large quantities.

3. Dwarf Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum)

Niche: Dynamic Accumulator, Shelter for insects, nectary, Green mulch

Habitat: Light: Prefers full sun Shade: Tolerates light shade (about 50%), moist but well drained soil.

Moisture: Medium, some species can be a bit more drought tolerant pH: tolerates a wide range (6.5-8.5)

Notable Products: Sheep and chicken food. (If allowed to set seed, it may spread quickly), All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

4. Perrenial Ground Cherry (Physalis heterophylla and subglabrata)

Niche:Ground cover, herbaceous , fruit producing

Habitat: Dry open woods. Rich soils, especially where the surface has been disturbed.

Notable Products: Edible cherries.

5. Egyptian or Walking Onion (Allium cepa proliferum):

Niche: Herbaceous, bulb, nectary

Habitat: Cultivated beds. Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Can withstand slightly acidic to slightly basic soils

Notable Products: Edible bulbils

Astragalus glycyphyllos

Milk Vetch, Licorice milkvetch


Height H: 0.2m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun
Moisture Dry

Astragalus glycyphyllos

Crambe maritima

Sea Kale


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Crambe maritima

Symphytum grandiflorum

Ground Cover Comfrey, Comfrey


Height H: 0.4m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Shade, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Symphytum grandiflorum

Physalis heterophylla

Clammy Ground Cherry, Rowell's groundcherry


Height H: 0.9m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Physalis heterophylla

Physalis subglabrata

Longleaf groundcherry


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Physalis subglabrata

Allium cepa proliferum

Tree Onion, Walking Onion


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Allium cepa proliferum

Herbaceous Polyculture 5

(Polycultures: Permaculture Activist Magazine February 2013, Eric Toensmeier)

1. Jostaberry (Ribes × nidigrolaria / x culverwellii)

A complex-cross in the Ribes genus, involving three original species, the Black Currant R. nigrum, the Coastal Black Gooseberry R. divaricatum, and the European Gooseberry R. uva-crispa. This is a fruiting shrub with fruit larger than a currant, smaller than a gooseberry. They taste like gooseberries but have no thorns! They grow 5-6 feet tall.

Niche: Bush

Habitat: Average water needs, full to partial sun

Notable Products: attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, edible berries

2. Hog Peanuts (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

Edible seeds and “roots” which are really seeds that develop underground, are shade-loving, climb up and sprawl out (smothering weeds), and fix nitrogen.

Niche: Vine, nitrifier, ground cover, annual, re-seeds easily.

Habitat: Partially shade tolerant, soil

Notable Products: Edible roots and seeds.

Notes: The Hog Peanut will suppress weed growth under the Jostaberry, and the Jostaberry is tall enough not to be overgrown by the Hog Peanut. The fruiting Jostaberry will benefit from the nitrogen produced by the Hog Peanut.

Ribes x culverwellii

Jostaberry


Height H: 1.8m or 6ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Ribes x culverwellii

Amphicarpaea bracteata

Hog Peanut, American hogpeanut


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
Light Shade, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Amphicarpaea bracteata

Herbaceous Polyculture 6

(Polycultures: Permaculture Activist Magazine February 2013, Eric Toensmeier)

1. Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

Edible tubers, emerge early, grow fast, reach 8 feet (2.4 meters), used as a trellis for vining plants such as polo beans and groundnut.

Niche: Tall (under optimal growing conditions), Herbaceous

Habitat: average water needs, full sun, does well in fertile soil

Notable Products: nectar, edible tubers (clean thoroughly, soil can stick in the folds and ridges

2. Hog Peanuts (Amphicarpaea bracteata, annual)

Edible seeds and “roots” which are really seeds that develop underground (see photo above), are shade-loving, climb up and sprawl out (smothering weeds), and fix nitrogen

Niche: Vine, nitrifier, ground cover, annual, re-seeds easily.

Habitat: Partially shade tolerant, soil.

Notable Products: Edible roots and seeds.

•Notes: Hog Peanuts can grow fast and can overwhelm shorter plants which make it a great groundcover. Sunchokes grow tall enough to avoid being overgrown by Hog Peanut. Sunchokes need to be harvested by digging. While the Hog Peanuts are sometimes not worth the trouble of harvesting because they are so small, if we are digging for the Sunchokes, then it is worthwhile to grab the Hog Peanuts as well.

Helianthus tuberosus

Jerusalem Artichoke


Height H: 2.4m or 8ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Helianthus tuberosus

Amphicarpaea bracteata

Hog Peanut, American hogpeanut


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
Light Shade, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Amphicarpaea bracteata

Herbaceous Polyculture 7

(Polycultures: Permaculture Activist Magazine February 2013, Eric Toensmeier)

1. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

This classic plant almost does it all: dynamic accumulator, attracts beneficial insects, groundcover, and forage plant for animals.

Niche: Herbaceous , dynamic accumulator, insect shelter, nectary, ground cover, forage.

Habitat: Partial Shade, average water requirement

Notable Products: Nectar, Green Mulch, dynamic accumulator, spike root with multiple apendages.

2. Mint (Mentha species)

Amazing flavor, attracts beneficial insects, aromatic pest confuser, groundcover, and dynamic accumulator.

Niche: disturbed and bare soil

Habitat: full sun to partial shade, minimal water needs, tolerates dry to medium moisture soils

Notable Products: nectar, green manure, invasive, ground cover

Notes: This is a classic combination for use as a tall groundcover under trees and large shrubs. The Comfrey will block out most weeds and can be used as a living mulch. The Mint will snake its way in and around the Comfrey to assist goundcover duties while providing its own additional benefits.

Symphytum officinale

Comfrey, Common comfrey


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Symphytum officinale

Mentha spicata

Spearmint


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Mentha spicata

Mentha x piperita citrata

Eau De Cologne Mint, Eau de Cologne Mint, Peppermint


Height H: 0.3m or 1ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Mentha x piperita citrata

Mentha x piperita officinalis

White Peppermint


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Mentha x piperita officinalis

Mentha x villosa alopecuroides

Apple Mint, Bowles' Mint


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Mentha x villosa alopecuroides

Insect Support Group of Flowers

A number of organizations and people are spreading a message that greater support for insects that rely on plants for pollen, nectar, and shelter is needed. Several polycultures or groups of plants that support these needs have been proposed. Some time ago, I received a seed packet of one such group. The label indicates it is from 7 Acre Wood Farm in Burnsville, Virginia (Bath County). Here are the seeds it contained:

1. Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

Niche: Herbaceous Perennial

Habitat: Full Sun, Sand Loam, Dry to Medium soil.Climate Zones: 3-9, Bloom: April - June

Notable Products: Nectar

2. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Niche: Nectary, invertabrate shelter, ground cover, Dynamic Accumulator

Habitat: Light: Prefers full sun. Shade: Tolerates moderate shade. Moisture: Can tolerate dry to medium moisture soils. pH: 5.1 – 7.5

Notable Products: Rumored to be an edible green. However, some people may have an allergic reaction to it. Perennial

3. Maximillian Sunflower (Helianthus maximilianii): (Perennial)

Niche: Herbaceous, nectary

Habitat: Prairie, moist clay-like soil, full sun,

Notable Products: Food, oil, dye, thread.

4. Common Evening-Primrose (Oenothera biennis): (Biennial)

Niche: Herbaceous, nectary

Habitat: Full to Partial Sun, Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry Soil,

Notable Products: nectarym bloom time depends on climate zone: June – November.

5. Queen Cleome/Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana): (Annual)

Niche: Herbaceous annual 3'-4' tall, 1'-2' wide

Habitat: Full sun, loamy soi, drought tolerant, wide variety of pH

Notable Products: Nectary, bloom time can depend on climate zone. Said to blooms in June - September.

6. Orange Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus): (Annual)

Niche: Herbaceous annual

Habitat: Average moisture, well-drained and dry soil, full sun, tolerates poor soil.

Notable Products: Nectar for butterflies

7. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): (Perennial)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Full sun, low water, chalk, loam and sandy soil,

Notable Products: Nectar for insects, deer resistant foliage.

8. Red Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia): (Annual)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Full sun, low water, loam and sandy soil

Notable Products: Nectar , foliage that deer do not eat.

9. Yellow Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia): (Annual)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Full sun, low water, loam and sandy soil

Notable Products: Nectar , foliage that deer does not eat.

10. Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata): (Annual)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Full sun to partial shade, average water needs, prefers loamy soil

Notable Products:Nectar, blooms mid-summer to early fall, can self sow.

11. Dandelion (Taraxacum): (Annual and Perennial)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Full to partial sun, nearly any soil, low water needs

Notable Products: Pollen, nectar, edible greens (variety dependent)

12. Goldenrod (Solidago ): (Annual)

Niche: Herbaceous

Habitat: Full sun, low water needs, sandy soil

Notable Products: nectar and pollen producer, deer resistant.

Cleome lutea

Yellow Spiderflower, Jones spiderflower


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Cleome lutea

Cleome serrulata

Rocky Mountain Beeplant


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Cleome serrulata

Coreopsis auriculata

Tickseed, Lobed tickseed,Mouse-eared Coreopsis, Eared Coreopsis


Height H: 1.5m or 5ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Coreopsis auriculata

Coreopsis rosea

Pink tickseed


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry, moist or wet

Coreopsis rosea

Coreopsis tinctoria

Coreopsis, Golden tickseed, Atkinson's tickseed, Dyer's Coreopsis, Plains Coreopsis, Annual Coreops


Height H: 0.8m or 3ft
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Coreopsis tinctoria

Coreopsis verticillata

Whorled tickseed


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Coreopsis verticillata

Cosmos bipinnatus

Cosmos, Garden cosmos, Common Cosmos


Height H: 1m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 8 to 11
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Cosmos bipinnatus

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow, Boreal yarrow, California yarrow, Giant yarrow, Coast yarrow, Western yarrow, Pacific yarrow


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Achillea millefolium

Helianthus maximilianii

Maximillian Sunflower, Maximillian Daisy


Height H: 2.4m or 8ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Helianthus maximilianii

Oenothera biennis

Evening Primrose, Sun Drop, Common evening primrose


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Oenothera biennis

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea, Eastern purple coneflower, Hedge Coneflower, Black Sampson , Purple Coneflower


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Echinacea purpurea

Tithonia diversifolia

Mexican Sunflower


Height H: 3m or 10ft
Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
Light Sun
Moisture Dry to Moist

Tithonia diversifolia

Nicotiana alata

Tobacco, Jasmine tobacco, Nicotiana, Jasmine Tobacco, Ornamental Tobacco, Flowering Tobacco


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun
Moisture Moist

Nicotiana alata

Taraxacum officinale

Dandelion - Kukraundha, Kanphool, Common dandelion, Dandelion


Height H: 0.5m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Moist

Taraxacum officinale

Solidago flexicaulis

Zigzag goldenrod


Height H: 0.6m or 2ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade, Shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Solidago flexicaulis

Solidago missouriensis

Prairie Goldenrod, Missouri goldenrod, Tolmie's goldenrod


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Solidago missouriensis

Solidago odora

Sweet Goldenrod, Anisescented goldenrod, Chapman's goldenrod


Height H: 1.2m or 4ft
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
Light Sun, Semi-shade
Moisture Dry to Moist

Solidago odora

Other Sources of Polycultures:

Bryce Ruddock's Plant Guilds

apiosinstitute.org

Sources:

pfaf.org

tcpermaculture

slideshare.net/ethanappleseed/perennial-polycultures
-The slideshare file used is associated with Terra Genesis International terra-genesis.com

Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway

Edible Forest Gardens Volume 1, 2: Design and Practice, by Dave Jacke

Joe Murray & Anne Bryan 7 Acre Wood Farm, Burnsville, VA

davesgarden.com

prairienursery.com

hort.uconn.edu

missouribotanicalgarden.org

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