A Permaculture Solution for Goji Berries by Tom Gibson

A Permaculture Solution for Goji Berries

Perhaps permaculture’s most memorable adage is “The Problem is the Solution.” Do you have too many slugs?  Maybe the solution is adding ducks which will eat those slugs and turn them into eggs. 

Canadian anemones certainly aren’t as annoying as slugs, but they are extremely aggressive and were crowding out some of my food-producing ground level plants like woodland strawberries and ramps. 

Yet I had mixed emotions about trying to eliminate them. The Canadian anemone’s white flowers attract a variety of pollinators. And their mat of fine surface roots that strangle their plant competitors also provides lush habitat for worms and arthropods. Pull off the “scalp” of living Canadian anemone roots and you’ll find soil that incorporates previously decayed roots, holds moisture and builds a wonderful, crumble-in-the-hand tilth.

Was there a permaculture solution somewhere in that mix? I thought of my goji berry plants, the Asian imports much hyped for their anti-oxidant value, but which, in my garden, had never lived up to their growing potential. Maybe a berry or two in late August, but, instead of the promised September profusion, a quick fade in a location that was sunny, but probably a little too dry.

The goji berry plants have relatively deep roots. Could they possibly thrive in all that rich, moist soil under my Canadian anemones?

Short answer: they have, and how!

goji picture Goji berries growing in a bed of Canadian anemone.

The berries are coming nonstop and provide a great addition to fruit salads.

Companion planting in other mat-like groundcovers would probably produce the same results.  I’ve got another goji berry plant planted in the middle of sweet woodruff, and it’s doing almost as well.