Permaculture Companion Plants For Tree Collards In The Edible Landscape

Although Tree Collards are perennials, they may need some help staying off the ground by staking their large trunks or by growing a stake in the form of a lovely bamboo plant. Tree collards can also benefit from ground covers that help hold in soil moisture and can produce their own food crop, thereby increasing the amount of food you can harvest in the same space in your food garden, edible landscape, or food forest.

1

Tea Bush (Camellia Sinensis)

camellia sinensis tea bush flowering
camellia sinensis tea bush flowering
The Camellia Sinensis will provide shade yearround, additional humidity for more jungle-esque atmosphere to support the growth of the tree collards, and support with its wooden branches to become a living stake for the tree collard, keeping it off the ground. 

As the Camellia Sinensis is in comparison, a much slower grower than the tree collard, you will either need to start growing it first to give it a head start, use a bamboo pole or other type of tree stake to give your tea bush time to mature, or splurge on a well-developed tea bush to speed along the process.
2

Bamboo

Bambusa Vulgaris Wamin bareroot bamboo plant sitting in a Fuyu Persimmon Tree
Bambusa Vulgaris Wamin bareroot bamboo plant sitting in a Fuyu Persimmon Tree
Bamboo plants also provide shade for tree collards in the summer heat, which also means humidity. The strong culms of certain bamboo plants can also become living supports for the tree collard. Bamboo plants can be hedged and thinned out to make space for a nice patch of tree collards, if you are not interested in growing a whole food forest of bamboo. 

Make your bamboo even easier to keep up with by choosing from several clumping varieties that can produce living trellises for your tree collards, but also be harvested at maturity if you'd prefer to grow your own tree stakes in your edible landscape. 

Bamboo shoots are also edible, so if you'd prefer a thinner bamboo patch that still acts as living tree stakes for your collards, you can harvest your bamboo shoots before they can turn into hard culms to control the thickness of your bamboo while increasing your food harvest. 
3

Strawberries

Let's not pass up any compatible ground covers when it comes to growing tree collards as protecting the soil around the roots of your perennial collards from hot summer sun will be key in getting the best yearround growth from your plants. Strawberry plants' ability to create new plants by sending out runners above the ground also mean that you don't have to move and replant your strawberries as your tree collards grow in as they will go seeking the necessary amount of sunlight all on their own. 

This makes strawberries a wonderful choice in companion planting with tree collards. 
4

Sweet Potatoes

Grown about a foot from the base of your tree collards, sweet potatoes can surely benefit from the evergrowing green canopy of your tree collard forest to help zone push your sweet potatoes into growing as a perennial in certain grow zones. 

The vines and leaves of sweet potatoes are also edible and will seek out sunlight for their own growth but will also form a very thick ground cover that locks in moisture throughout the growing season that both the sweet potatoes and the tree collards can use for plant growth.
5

Horseradish: helps to break up the ground and make space for the roots of the tree collard

Horseradish is quickly becoming one of my favorite permaculture plants despite its reputation as being invasive and impossible to kill. These qualities are really what makes it a wonderful permaculture companion plant for getting long-lived perennials like tree collards established. 

The tall-growing leaves of the horseradish also provide excellent cover for my Indian Runner Ducks for naps on top of the tree collard roots, where they cannot help but continue to fertilize in their sleep. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
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