Permaculture therefore has an expanded concept of what exactly constitutes a resource. Lets now look at organising the plants themselves.
Polyculture and Guilds.
Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same area, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture. It includes crop rotation, multi-cropping and inter-cropping.
Guilds are groups of plants which work particularly well together. These can be those observed in nature such as the White Oak guild which centres on the White Oak tree and includes 10 other plants. The Three Sisters of maize, squash and beans is another well known guild. Guilds can thought of as an extension of companion planting. The original plants in a guild can be substituted by plants more suitable for man’s use, as long the new plants satisfy the original plant’s guild relationship.
Perennial plants are often used in permaculture design. As they do not need to be planted every year they require less maintenance and organic fertilizers. They are especially important in the outer zones and in layered systems.