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Support Plants

Pigeon%20Pea%20Support%20Plant.JPGSupport plants play a critical role in creating a sustainable food forest. They’re the herbs, groundcovers, shrubs and trees that are planted at the beginning stage of the food forest. As the food forest matures, these support plants will largely be replaced or shaded out as the main fruit trees require more space. Support plants are essential for:

  • Soil Improvement – aerating and restructuring the soil, bringing up minerals from deep down in the soil that are inaccessible to most plants, fixing nitrogen in the soil, adding carbon and mulch
  • Protection – protecting plants and soil from strong winds and excessive sun and heat, and maximising soil moisture through shade
  • Habitat - providing homes for wildlife, including beneficial insects and animals
  • Food – for soil biology, chooks, wildlife, family, friends and us!
  • Fuel – for the wood fire heater to keep us toasty in winter!

Some of the support plants grown at Happyearth are:

  • Herbs: chicory, buckwheat, marigolds, parsley, dandelion, comfrey, purslane, yarrow, wormwood
  • Ground covers: lucerne, clovers, pintos peanut, barrel medic, wynns cassia, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, nasturtium
  • Interplant/Short-term fruit trees: panama berry, guava, babaco, bananas, paw paw
  • Shrubs: lemongrass, citronella grass, vetiver grass, indigofera, trema
  • Trees: acacias, bleeding heart, native hibiscus, leucaena

At HappyEarth, every fruit tree is interplanted with support trees and shrubs, and surrounded by a luscious carpet of ground covers and herbs. Its fruit tree heaven!

Support plants - one year on