So it’s almost time to start doing some direct seeding (i.e. planting seeds in the beds rather than starting them indoors). I intend to start my cukes, carrots, beets, peas, beans and more this way. Not all right away of course, but soon enough. So I have two options. One is to go the pretty route, with nice orderly rows. A benefit of that is knowing what is what when they are still small – I’m still a fledgling gardener and I’m planting a lot of veggies I’ve never grown before… The other option is to go “polycultural”. The basic idea behind this is to seed a variety of plants interspersed in one bed, with no order. You literally just toss one packet of seeds across the soil, then another and another one on top of each other (not mixed up) and then cover with 1 inch or so of soil (also sprinkled). You choose plants with different maturing rates (growing days) and harvest some early as young greens to keep things appropriately thinned. This is a great way to grow as you don’t need mulch (the canopy of so many plants keeps the earth shaded and moist). Also, it’s good for pest protection. As long as you do eat to thin it you can keep a handle on disease easily this way too. Obviously it’s the more natural way to grow. I’m just worried I won’t be able to differentiate between plants early enough, and start picking my fall greens instead of my spring….
Has anyone done this? Any experience you can share?
Big nod to rootsimple who wrote about this in their fantastic book The Urban Homestead (which I think got the info from Gaia’s Garden). I highly recommend this book for anyone getting started.