Plant Guilds

I’ve been learning about plant guilds, groups of plants that grow well together and in a symbiotic relationship. One of the best known ones is the trio of corn, beans, and squash. Corn grows tall, providing a trellis for climbing beans. Beans fix nitrogen back into the soil, helping others grow. Squash covers the ground, providing a natural mulching effect, reducing the need to water and preventing weeds from gaining hold.

I am curious about combinations well-suited for the Houston area…  I don’t really care to grow corn, but it would be neat to grow something in front of my aquaponics growbeds, making them a bit more sightly. Of course, aquaponics is the real focus of my gardening interest, but this is a nice use of small shale that I have left over, which is good for mixing with the clay soil to improve drainage.

Whatever I pick should not get taller than 4 feet tall, so as not to steal sun from the growbeds. I wonder if there is a good combination guild for artichoke? I also wonder how hard it would be to transplant my aquaponics artichoke plants into the ground…

Here’s a combination that sounds interesting:

Strawberries with chives and borage

  • the strawberries provide ground cover, fruit, and leaves for tea
  • the chives provide herb crop, mulch, aromatic insectiary deterrant, and can produce edible flowers to attract pollinators (if you let it grow out that long
  • the borage provide edible greens, and edible flower pods/flowers to attract pollinators
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