Well I’ve started the first seeds of the season with a little help from my son G. G basically mixed some water and seed starting mix together and then dumped a whole packet of old bean seeds into his bowl before I got a chance to supervise. So, what I thought was going to keep him occupied for about 10 minutes lasted about two. Oh well, the bright side is that he does a great job helping outside where he can use his shovel. I planted some seeds for the members of my apple guild. Guilds are a permaculture thing. If you don’t know permaculture is a type of gardening (and much more than that really) that aims to have a more permanent garden. So, instead of planting and tilling every year, you would plant more perennials that use less water and benefit each other. That is a very simplistic definition and I hope to talk a little bit more about permaculture later. If you just can’t wait, The Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Marrow is a book that I’m reading now and it is a very straightforward book on the topic. Bill Mollison’s Introduction to Permaculture is the classic text on the subject but it kind of made my head spin. Of course it was the interviews with him in the Seeds of Change enewsletter that turned me onto permaculture in the first place.
While I was looking through the Seeds of Change catalog, I saw a little blurb on apple guilds and since we inherited three apple trees with our house, I figured I should give the whole guild thing a shot. Guilds are plants grouped together that benefit each other like the “Three Sisters” corn, squash and beans. In my apple guild, I’m planting Dill to attract beneficial insects, Korean Licorice Mint to attract bees (to pollinate the trees), Phoenician Mullein (which has a long taproot to bring up minerals), and later I hope to plant onions (to ward off pests) and if I can get my hands on them fava beans (to add nitrogen to the soil). I have such high hopes for this gardening year and my seeds haven’t even germinated yet.