We haven’t updated our blog with photos in awhile so we took a few to show what’s going on in the greenhouse in December. Lots of greens!We have 2 polyculture beds going this winter. One outside and one in the hoophouse. These beds have over 15 varieties of cool weather crops growing in them simultaneously. The seeds of the respective veggies were hand broadcast all together and covered lightly with soil on the same day. Soon there was a thick carpet of germinating greens and root vegetables covering the soil. This living mulch quickly outcompetes weeds and helps keep moisture in the soil, so it’s a very low-labor-intensive style of farming. It looks beautiful too!
A few weeks after sowing the seeds, we can begin harvesting the baby greens for delectable salads. By thinning the greens in this way, it makes space for select plants to grow bigger and reach full maturity. We are regularly thinning the polycultures so there is a constant supply of food, but we are careful to make sure that the soil is always covered by the lush vegetables.
Another advantage of polycultures is that they confuse the pests because the varieties are all mixed in with each other. A bug might find one plant he likes to munch on, but the plant next door is probably something totally different, so he’ll have a hard time finding all of the plants of that variety that he craves.
Spring and fall are the best times to start a polyculture, so now is a good time to start planning a spring polyculture in your garden. It doesn’t take much space to grow great polyculture!