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I wish to know what would make a good plant guild in my front and back yards.

The entire property is surrounded by massive Black Walnuts, and both have about 6 hours of summer sun. It's in a small city, soil slightly compact, has an array of wild herbs and grass, that gets cut every week and I''m wanting to plant fruit trees, and support them with other herbs and prennials.

I saw one plant guild out of Gia's Garden, which included Wolfberry or Goji Berry, Hackberry, Mulberry, Currant, some Nightshade and a Russian Olive.

Well if anybody has any knowledge on the subject or know how to test the soil I would greatly appreciate the comments.

Peace upon your Path
Sher-Doc. Yidaki

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Thank you, that definitely helps :).

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) is a great medicine.
I've made a tincture with the whole nut, husk and all. You can also make a strong tasting peppery tea by shaving a little sliver of the husk into cool or hot water. One nut husk can make a full 10L of tea.

It is;

  • a strong vermifuge (kills and expels parasites)
  • a nervous-system restorative and stimulates the pineal gland, helping 'open' the Third Eye!
  • acts against athletes foot and other fungal skin infections


I'm wondering however, do all species in the Juglans family have substantial amounts of Juglone? I'm wanting to plant Bolivian and Andean Walnut (Juglans boliviana and Juglans neotropica respectively) here at The Way Inn (600m above Huaraz Peru), and wondering if I'll have to choose juglone-tolerant plants to form a plant community.

      Checking at Knowledge Wiki I found that Juglans neotropica is allelopathic like most walnuts. From this I would assume that all walnuts are allelopathic unless there is data elsewise. Its natural associates in it's native range are Anthuriums and Philodendrons.The site also gives germination and site specific data for the neotropica species. By the way all walnuts can cross pollinate with one another and there has been speculation that crossing the Andean walnut with the American black walnut could result in a higher quality nut for the area you are now in.For some more info on the species check at trees.stanford.edu/PDF/JUGneo.pdf

      Hope this can help you somewhat.

Thank you ever so much Bryce, your replies have been most helpful.
I found that "Lost Crops of the Andes" book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I'm now looking over the trees.stanford.edu/PDF/JUGneo.pdf file.

Peace to you and all

Juglans neotropica is a slow-growing tree 25 m in height and 40
cm d.b.h.

Do you know what d.b.h. stands for?

Thanks again

Diameter at breast height, a standard measurement for tree girth.

I received this email from one of our PDC graduate students which I then forwarded to Bryce. I thought many of you might like to read both the questions and Bryce's replies. Here you go! Bill

Bill,
I hope you are well.
I have continued to digest (compost?) what I learned from the 2 classes at Heal the Planet Farm this past fall. I have a question on plant guilds and I wonder if you would forward it on to Bryce Ruddock.

My situation:
My wife and I are in the process of moving to her parents house in Easton, MO. It is a 6 acre site with an existing stand of Black Walnuts.
1. There are around 30-35 Black Walnut trees. There are a few large Hackberry trees in the area.
2. I found my father-in-laws garden notebook and he noted these are grafted trees.
3. I believe these were planted 20-25 years ago. They average 20 feet apart and are around 20-25 ft high.
4. They are on a north-facing slope and are surrounded with grass that has been continuously mowed. I believe it is probably fescue.
5. We gathered 35, 5 gallon buckets of walnuts (with hulls) this past fall, with quite a few still on the ground.
5. I have attached a couple of pictures and an aerial from Google Maps

Questions:
I have read your e-book on Plant Guilds and am working my way through “Integrated Forest Gardening.”
1. How does working with established trees affect the Walnut Guild?
2. 20 feet spacing seems a bit small. How will the existing spacing affect the guild?
3. Do you have any suggestions on pruning walnuts? Most of what I have read seems to be focused on lumber, not nut production.

From Bryce Ruddock...
The plant guild e book was written exactly for working with existing mature or nearly mature trees as the center of each guild. The twenty foot spacing should not be a problem
The taller non walnut choices can be planted just outside the drip lines of the outer walnut trees at your site. This will leave enough room for picking up the walnuts after they have dropped. Comfrey will grow in the walnuts' shade as will spring bulbs. Currants, gooseberries, and bramble crops are also good beneath the walnut canopy. Just be sure to leave room for accessing the nut crop.

Pruning of black walnut trees for nut production is not needed unless there are dead branches or if the tree's canopy extends over a building roof. Nothing is quite as irritating as walnuts dropping on the roof (especially if it's a metal one) during the night. Pruning to enhance straight growth of the trunk enhances timber production. Its possible to do both and your father in law did just that by planting the trees at the density that they are in. Competition for light forces the trees to grow taller and branch in a vase like pattern until reaching a height where they can spread out the canopy. Singly planted black walnuts will branch out lower to the ground and produce wood with more knots.
Here is a link that gives pruning data. http://www.walnutcouncil.org/resources/growing-hardwoods/managing-y...

Here is a link to some of the other species that could be part of the guild.
http://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/companion-pla....

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