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Polyculture vegetable guilds

This is what the garden looks like in January and February. The snow is actually mostly melted at the moment, but we’re due to get more soon. Needless to say, I am still snuggled up inside with my seed catalogs, trying to plan.

I just put in a big seed order and am now trying to figure out how to plant them all! I want to plant a polyculture garden, with herbs, vegetables, and flowers all together. Many plants do better when they have a variety of other ones around them. It decreases pests and improves the soil. However, it gets really complicated! Here are all the things to consider:
- Height of plant
- Sun requirements
- Water requirements
- Soil requirements
- How deep the roots are (you don’t want to put a lot of deep-rooted plants close together)
- Nitrogen fixing (some plants are good for this, so you want to sprinkle them around evenly)
- How many days until harvest (for the annuals)
- Which plants are beneficial to each other (like basil deterring aphids on tomatoes)
- Which plants are bad for each other (like dill and fennel which will cross-pollinate in a bad way)

I’m going to put together what are called “guilds” of plants that will do well together. Then I’m going to order these guilds according to water and sunlight needs, putting the plants that need the most water closest to my garden hose, and the ones that need the most sun on the Southern-most end of the garden. For now, I’m writing a spreadsheet with all the info I’ve collected, and when I get my seed order in I’ll take the info from the seed packets and add to that. I’ll report back when I have my guilds figured out!