Growing fruits on your property is not only fun, but also an important element of being self sustainable, especially in a place like South Florida where the climate is perfect for such a wide range of tropical fruits. Veggie gardens have their time to shine during the fall and winter whereas tropical fruit are in full swing during our muggy summer months. Growing fruit as part of your home garden is a good way to diversify your yields and have fresh home grown foods year round.

Using Permaculture Principles

Permaculture can be understood as the creation of ecosystems that draw inspiration from nature to develop synergetic systems based on crop diversity, resilience, natural productivity, and sustainability.

Why not take it one step further and plant a tree guild! For those who aren't familiar a fruit tree guild is a permaculture method of planting a fruit tree in combination with other plants that will grow together to create a mini ecosystem around the tree. The tree forms a canopy and the understory plants all take their place under it. The plants within the guild actually benefit from each other and you benefit from them by harvesting multiple crops throughout the year. For example, you might have a guava tree that fruits in the spring, but also tropical spices like lemongrass and moujean tea to harvest year round as well as chili peppers and cranberry hibiscus during the summer and seminole pumpkins or sweet potatoes in the fall.

Tree guilds are best suited for small to mid sized fruit trees like guava, starfruit, papaya and mulberry to name a few. Large canopy trees like mango and avocado tend to overwhelm understory plants eventually.

What kind of fruit tree planting is right for you?

Just Fruit Trees

Individual fruit trees are low maintenance and can be incorporated into existing landscapes easily. If you like the idea of a large tree, such as mango or avocado, it's better not to crowd it with companion plants. When we plant a tree we add fresh soil to the planting hole, OMRI certified organic fruit tree fertilizer and mulch to give your tree the best start in it's new forever home. We'll help you find the best location for fruit trees on your property and we'll help you pick the right variety.

Small Guild

A small fruit tree guild is great for people who don't have a ton of space and are interested in maximizing their gardens productivity. It is beautiful to see how the various plants in a guild evolve from season to season. Maintenance is minimal, but usually necessary on a somewhat regular basis. A small guild is roughly 6' in diameter and includes one fruit tree accompanied by 2 shrub layer plants, 5 herbaceous plants and 10 ground cover plants.

Large Guild

A large fruit tree guild is a bigger undertaking, but the rewards are greater. These include 2 fruit trees, 6 shrub layer plants, 16 herbaceous plants and 20 ground covers. More plants means a more complex ecosystem which often needs routine work to maintain neatness and healthy pest free plants. A large guild measures roughly 12' in diameter and produces substantially more food so harvesting may require some know how.

Fruit tree guilds are installed using 12" corrugated steel edging to neatly define the planting area. Small guilds are often shaped into a circle or a bean shape and large guilds are well suited to an oval shape or a large bean shape. This tall edging also allows us to build up soil and mulch layers to create an environment that holds moisture and breaks down over time to keep feeding your plants. We use our custom soil blend, OMRI certified organic fertilizer, natural mulch and biodegradable pine plant tags for all tree and guild installations.

Summer time is the best time to plant fruit tree guilds! Your new trees and edible perennial plants will get a head start with all of the rain that is common during those months. If you are interested in an installation book a 15 minute assessment with our garden team using the calendar below.