Midwest Permaculture

Leaving the planet in better condition than we found it.


Plant Guilds

Hey permaculturists and gardeners...! Let's get out of the books and share some of our personal successes with each other in creating plant guilds.

Members: 173
Latest Activity: Apr 6

Successful Plant Guilds

We have asked one of our PDC Graduates and Midwest Permaculture's Official Plant Guy, Bryce Ruddock, and his knowledgeable and experienced wife and partner Debby to host this section of the website.

The two of them have totally transformed their traditional-suburban yard in South Milwaukee into a horticultural and edible Mecca. I bet they have over 300 varieties of food and medicinal plants in their yard. Between the two of them they make up a walking encyclopedia of plant knowledge.

We also asked Bryce if he would come up with a handful of plant guild examples to give beginning students of permaculture some great ideas of where and how to begin to place plants into helpful and productive groupings.

9 Plant Guilds - by Bryce Ruddock
Free to Download

Published as a Gift from Bryce and Midwest Permaculture
under the Creative Commons License

And New...Just Released (July 2014)
 -- Integrated Forest Gardening --
"The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds"
Also by Bryce in collaboration with our Friends Dan and Wayne
This is a Great Book!!!  More Here...

Feel free to ask Bryce and Debby any questions you might have on either the Comment Wall or by opening up a new discussion, both are found below.

Please weigh in with your own knowledge and experience as well. Let's share our knowledge and experience with others...Bill Wilson

Discussion Forum

Maple Guild?

Started by Laura Newby Apr 4.

Rain garden, heavy on edible perennials 2 Replies

Started by Scott Miskiel. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Feb 11, 2018.

Bryce--Question on Shade Tolerant Viburnum 1 Reply

Started by Mike Gibbons. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Oct 15, 2017.

Black-Walnut Plant Guilds 43 Replies

Started by Sher-Doc. Yidaki. Last reply by Bill Wilson Feb 12, 2017.

Bryce - help with plant ideas! 4 Replies

Started by Rebecca MacDonald. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Mar 4, 2016.

Paw paws 6 Replies

Started by Annette Bowman. Last reply by Steve Potratz Nov 11, 2015.

2015 What are you planning to Do? 4 Replies

Started by Bryce Ruddock. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Jun 15, 2015.

Bryce, this is a request for help in the sandbox

Started by Wendy Shafer Jun 5, 2015.

Integrated Forest Gardening: the book

Started by Bryce Ruddock Aug 12, 2014.

Who has grown the haycinth bean? (Lablab purpureus) 5 Replies

Started by Bill Wilson. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Apr 17, 2014.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Plant Guilds to add comments!

Comment by James Michael Pierson on November 21, 2015 at 7:41am

Thanks Bryce, I just became a member of the library and downloaded a book. It's awesome!

Comment by Bryce Ruddock on November 19, 2015 at 7:51am

Here is a link to the Agricultural Library an Aussie site. The link shows how to get the download for Joseph Coccannouers book Weeds Guardians of the Soil. This book, written in 1950, has some of what you may be looking for.There are also quite a few other useful books for Permaculturists at the same site.  https://soilandhealth.org/copyrighted-book/weeds-guardians-of-the-s...

Comment by James Michael Pierson on November 19, 2015 at 7:36am

Megan, here are some sites to check out. I just found them with a Google search.  Rodales Oganic LifeInhabit.comgardeningknowhow.comhomestead.org (this is a nice one).

Good luck. Some of it is just observation. Walk around and look at what plants grow well next to the weeds, or what weeds grow well and what conditions they are in. I would recommend getting a soil ph test kit and test the soils. You can start to make your own conclusions about what the weeds indicate by testing soil and observing the plants and digging up a little soil. You can also do a soil test to find out how much clay, sand and silt are present. Just get a glass jar and put some of the soil you want to test in it. Add water and shake it up, then just wait. It will all settle in the order of ingredients. Once the water on top is clear you will have an accurate read, from the bottom up, of sand, silt and clay. You can measure them with a ruler if you want to be precise and calculate the percentage. 

Have Fun! :)

Comment by Bryce Ruddock on November 18, 2015 at 3:58pm

Yo back at you Bill. Congrats to the students for the awesome teaching that they are getting. Windy and stormy here the last few days but took Debby out for an birthday antiquing trip around SE Wisconsin yesterday anyway and  went between the raindrops for the most part until near the end when it was very wet. Been thinking a lot about plant guilds of late especially in light of Tao Orion's book.

Comment by Megan Blount on November 18, 2015 at 9:41am

Big bountiful greetings to all as we approach Thanksgiving.  I am hoping somebody can steer me in the right direction.  I know I have read and heard folks talk about what different "weeds" on your land signify (ie. too much phosphorus etc) Is there a website that displays that info?  I'm in Michigan, my land has quite a lot of plant diversity but an abundance of certain plants in certain spots (mullein, goldenrod, and an area of ferns)  I know the land has a message for me.......any ideas?

Comment by Bill Wilson on November 17, 2015 at 5:25pm

Students at our Sivananda Yoga Ashram PDC Course saying 'Hi' and 'Thanks' to Bryce and Dan for their many gifts...!

Comment by Bill Wilson on November 17, 2015 at 12:10pm

Yo Dan...Lots of new updates on your Natural Capital Plant Data Base. Brilliant. It's really coming along. I'll bring my students in today.  Thanks!

Comment by Daniel Halsey on November 17, 2015 at 11:51am

Winter air indoors might need a little help. Or a lot.  On the plant database we have 152 air cleaning plants. 58 that are indoor suited and researched for chemical abatement. High humidity plants are in shade. Low humidity plants are in full sun. 

Comment by Bill Wilson on November 17, 2015 at 11:37am

Yo.. Sup Bryce?  I'm in Calif with our Sivananda students.  We just want to thank for the great plant guild booklet.  Working on plant guilds now.

Cheers to your better half... 

Comment by Megan Blount on June 16, 2015 at 10:17am

I am currently reading the Forrest Gardening book and LOVE it!  Am so glad I ordered it and I can already tell it will be a cherished resource for many years to come.  The 3 of you (authors) seem to have collaborated very well together.  Thanks for the time and expertise you devoted to disseminating this wealth of information. 


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