So, I'm trying to plan my ultimate garden setup in case we are able to move. I am in Michigan, zone 5b. Which do you think is better...
1. Plant annual veggie crops mixed in a food forest?
2. Keep the food forest all-perennials and do a separate annual veggie garden?
3. Have a bit of a hybrid approach with annual veggies mixed in with flowers, herbs & small fruittrees?
I really love companion planting and am kindof planning around that. In "Great Garden Companions" Sally Jean Cunningham writes about having "food neighborhoods," which basically is a well-organized companion planting approach. I like the idea of having "neighborhoods" set up with herbs, flowers & veggies centered around a certain veggie family. Then that "neighborhood" can be moved to various places each year and you don't have to re-think it every year.
The reason I was entertaining the idea of integrating annual vegetables with a food forest is I do believe it's best to keep a root in the ground whenever possible and perennials do that. Should I just keep the food forest separate so that it's self-sustaining for the most part and instead just try to weave in perennial flowers & herbs & maybe dwarf fruit trees with my veggies?
Any insight welcome! This is my first post here but I've been gardening for years and have really enjoyed lurking and learning from permies for the past year or two. It's great to be among fellow-minded people who wouldn't think I'm crazy for being so into all this!
My forest garden and my annual garden are separate; but also together. Basically, the southern and western borders of the forest garden are also the northern and eastern borders of the annual garden (can try to get some photos to better explain). Eventually, as the trees and perennials grow larger and cast more shade over the annual garden, I will begin to transition that area to become part of the forest garden and create a new annual garden in a new spot.
As for mixing, I do have many annuals and biennials in the forest garden. Most of it is volunteer stuff, since I use bolted/spent annuals as mulch in the forest garden after chopping them down in fall; but I also put bush beans, kale, and climbing cucurbits in the forest garden where I see open spots that weeds might try to take advantage of if something else doesn't get growing there. Also, I always start way too many seedlings each spring to fit in the annual garden so the extras often find themselves in the forest garden, wherever I can squeeze them in.
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