If You Guild It, They Will Come: How to Grow a Permaculture Food Forest

Introduction to permaculture guilds and companion planting. Suggests combinations for berries, apples, kale, figs, peaches, rosemary, and echinacea.

Updated: January 28, 2023
Heather Jo Flores


They take turns blooming, share space, distribute different nutrients and succeed each other over generations. In our home gardens, we can create diverse, low-maintenance food forests by mimicking these patterns. In its most basic form, this is called companion planting, and gardeners have been doing it for millennia.

You probably know the classic “Three Sisters” example. Native Americans grew corn, beans and squash in a shared space because together they repelled pests and provided a successional yield.

I have heard from some old-timers that there was actually a fourth Sister: lupine, a self-seeding, nitrogen-fixing biennial that was planted all around the corn patch to repair the soil.

Getting Started with Permaculture Guilds and Companion Planting

orange tree / heather jo flores

permaculture guild / heather jo flores

Echinacea / Heather Jo Flores

Echinacea / Heather Jo Flores

Wrapping Up

Thank you for taking the time to read our article on permaculture guilds. We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.

This article was originally published on Heather Jo Flores' website. Find more of her work at freepermaculture.com, permaculturewomen.com, and heatherjoflores.com.

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Farmer by day, writer by night. Author of Food Not Lawns, director of Permaculture Women’s Guild, creator of #freepermaculture.
Heather Jo Flores
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