Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Companion Planting--Apricot understory for winter harvest.

While you're planning for the garden year, here's a quick profile of the companion plants that surround our apricot tree. It's too early to call this an overall "success," since the guild is only 2 years old. However, I can say it has been both very low maintenance and provided us with a very nice yield as we wait for our first apricots. And, although fast growth was not a goal for us here but for better or worse, this tree has beaten its expected growth's rate.




Apricot understory:
--Yarrow and salad burnet for chop & drop mulching.
--Woody herbs, oregano, hyssop, and lavender as fortress plants to fight the grass, and to provide woody mulch. 
--Herbs for eating, including garlic chives, burnet, walking onions, lavender, oregano, hyssop, sage, campanulas, (and yarrow.)
--Spring ephemerals for tight nutrient cycling; daffodils, camus, walking onions, crocuses.
--Ever-bearing strawberries to get my attention;
--Clover and lupines for nitrogen.
--Marshmallow and valerian grow together, just beyond the long-term drip line.

 
A main goal for the larger guild was to provide a perennial winter harvest that's close to our front door. Here, walking onions, camus bulbs, burnet, campanulas, sage and hyssop all provide a sustainable winter harvest without protection, if not over-picked.

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