One of the main principles of permaculture is diversity. Taking a hint from nature and combining plants into diverse polycultures instead of growing row upon row of the same thing makes great use of the space available, discourages disease and pest problems and generally means more to harvest with less work. It is easier to do when working with perennial plants but even annual vegetables can be grown in polycultures. For several years now I have been experimenting with different polycultures of annuals and the one I’m sharing here has been a great success.
I have designed it so that I can sow everything at the same time, yet harvest for months on end – from the first leaf mustard plants that can be picked just weeks after sowing, till December when I can still harvest parsnips and chicories.
These are the vegetable varieites I sowed this time:
1. Leaf mustard
Bekana, Ruby Streaks, Golden Frills, Dragon Tongue, Rucola)
(Buttercrunch, Cerbiatta, Flashy Butteroak, LolloRosso, Twellose Gele
Mix of different varieties
4. Spring onions
Apache, White Lisabon, Shimonita Negi
5. Carrots & parsnips
(Bambino carrot, Corsmic Purple carrot, Halflange van Guersney parsnip, Italian Parsley
6. Beets & chard
Wodan, Robuschka, McGregor, perpetual spinach
You can of course choose different varieties or use leftover seed you have on hand, but it is a good idea to choose a few from every group.
Have you tried mixing vegetables and growing polycultures?