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Companion Planting Guide with patterning

Transforming your garden with pattern

Category: AgriculturePermacultureBiologyPatterning

Date: 12 September 2011

Description: A guide to Companion Planting, the practice of combining mutually beneficial species of plants in a naturally harmonious pattern that would promote the best features of each plant's growth habits and yields, while accommodating for differences in environmental factors and seasonal fluctuations. Bluntly put, "The art of putting plants together".


Patterns in Companion Planting

Patterns found in nature can guide us to more productive combinations of plants. You can assemble your Plant Guilds using sacred geometrical designs like spirals, pyramids, labyrinth, Metatron's Cube, Flower of Life, and many others. Try to maximise edges and allow for harvest plants to be at arms reach.

First you will need to prepare a garden bed. My favourite method of setting up the garden bed is:

  • Prepare a garden bed 35cm thick, in a rectangle (1.5m wide, and 2.4m long), along a contour or as a triangle (stepped pyramid).
    • Layer cardboard on top of the grass or bare soil
    • Collect and spread grass clippings and 'weeds' over the cardboard (10cm thick)
    • Top up the green clippings with a thick layer of fresh compost (15cm thick)
    • Mix pebbles and riverstones into the compost
    • Top up the last 10cm with a layer of humus, fine soil, clays and sand
  • Using a rake, level the soil to create an even plane
  • Label out the nodes (with thin twigs or coloured markers) where you intend to dig, and where you intend to mound.
  • Mark out a honeycomb structure (connected hexagons), with lines 24cm long
  • Create a tetrahedron at the center of each hexagon (dig shallow pits at each triangle point, and form a 8cm mound at the center)

Refer to the Metatrons Cube images for suggested planting layout.

L = legumes / nitrogen fixers
P = perennials
H = herbs
F = flowers
V = vegetables
T = trees (fruit)

You can mix and match the different plants and their positions according to your design needs. One suggestion is the stepped pyramid pattern, with 6 overlapping metatron cubes. This adds a lot of edges and provides for easy reach. Refer to stepped pyramid images. You may also plant a dwarf fruit tree at the center of the design where the [P]erennial marker is. Face the upper pyramid point towards the sun to get maximum sunlight exposure (North, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere).

Plant out your seedlings according to the pattern. You may start with mature perennials and herbs to provide instant habitat and extra shading. Cover the soil with straw, dried leaves, pine needles (makes soil more acidic), wood chips, rocks, bamboo husks, or any other accessible dried matter.

There are many more patterns to explore. Be inventive!

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