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mixing plants together in the garden?  RSS feed

 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Planning for next year and the wider garden beds. What crops do well mixed together? For example I'm thinking root crop beds might work, a mix of carrots, turnips, beets, radishes? Another bed with a mix of peas and beans since both climb. Any other good mixes. I'm in zone 2a so maximum time to maturity would be about 100 days since I can get an early start in the sunroom. However if you have mixes that would work in other zones please feel free to add but make sure you note what zone the mix is for. Another mix might be leafy veggies such as lettuces of different types.
 
James Colbert
Posts: 271
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If you do a bed of all root crops they will compete because all of their roots are at the same level. Ideally a mixed bed should have plants with deep roots, medium depth roots, and shallow roots. A good combo could be carrots, onions, and lettuce. Above the ground these plants do not compete for light even when spaced close together. Someone can probably expand on this topic better than I can.
 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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'Tanks, dats why I ask!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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From my own experience, be careful not to include too many seeds of aggressive fast-growing plants such as turnips, which can overwhelm slower-growing herbs. Too much lettuce can also overwhelm a bed. In general, watch out for planting seeds too densely, because then if you're not harvesting or thinning fast enough, plants can get stunted or overwhelmed. I've had so much trouble with things getting overwhelmed in a polyculture that next planting season (Fall) I plan to plant in small blocks of a single variety instead of mixing varieties. But I tend to chronically plant too many seeds because I'm afraid they won't grow!

 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 483
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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good thoughts. I'm hoping to pre-sprout and that will help with the over-stocking.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Yeah. Over seeding is a 'mistake' most of us probably make. Better to have too many of something than not enough. It helps assure that we will have enough of something, and through thinning, allows us to keep the healthiest, most vigorous plants. Just make certain that you thin in a timely manner.

Over seeding is a very good idea for plants whose thinning will provide edible shoots for salads, stir fries, or whatever. If they are plants that you would not eat yourself, I'll bet that the chickens wouldn't mind if you threw them all into their yard. As a last resort, the compost bin, or worms will quickly turn them into something useful. Seeds are cheap, failure is not easy to deal with. "Enough", and "Not enough" are subjective terms. Best to err on the side of "Plenty".



 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Things with fiddly germination, like carrots, I generally keep separate-ish. I usually lay jute sacks over the seed and if I mixed species, there'd be a whole lot of seedlings pop up in the dark, ages before the carrots germinated.
I also keep my maincrop alliums pretty segregated, since they hate competition and there's no way I'm risking my garlic!
I tend to think about season/soil requirements and plant habit, rather than species.
It's winter here...for eg in one bed I have various lettuces, Asian greens, coriander. I seeded those on purpose, but daikon, upland cress, calendula, parsley, carrots, salsify, chervil and who knows what else have shown up too.
In another bed I have brassicas, some kind of chicory, coriander, leeks, Florence fennel (it's perennial here), black sccorzonera (perennial salsify).
Every bed has parsley, daikon, chervil, cress, parsnips and so on appear There's sugarsnap peas and a rocoto chilli (perennial here) climbing the South end.
At this time of year, I have a lot of broad beans, aka fava beans, at the South end of gardens. Fabulous things. Food, compost, mulch, nitrogen... They are stupidly tall and in my garden, do not share, ever.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Most of what I have read/heard concerning crop rotations have dealt with the various plant families, ie nightshades, brassicas, legumes, etc. The wisdom being that you don't plant the same family in the same bed next year. I know an old timer that didn't look at families, but rather types. One season it would be root crops, the next year leaf crops, then fruiting types, etc. With his system, you didn't need to read Latin or become a botanist to figure out the system (lol).

I believe that if you plant all of your major vegetable families in the same bed at the same time, (along with plenty of other plants,) you will have enough diversity that none of the diseases/pests will ever get a strong enough foothold to create a problem.

A classic example being the alliums. They are well known to detract many pests/diseases from other plants. They are commonly mixed in with other crops to keep the bugs away. But alliums have their own pests/diseases. One of the more successful garlic growers I know puts his garlic in a different field each year to avoid bringing in soil borne diseases. Disease may start in the field that year, but it has not reached a serious threat. If garlic is not planted in that field for another 3 years, hopefully the disease will die for lack of a suitable host.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5725
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Just brought in a harvest from what is supposed to be our "fallow" bed in the fenced garden...arugula, lambs quarters , anise hyssop for tea, odd basils. The bed has lots of french marigolds and young buckwheat too and no weeds to speak of. This is my usual fallow bed mix because I throw all lof the gone to seed things on the bed (that we intend to let rest) in the fall, they come up when they want and I have market plants, some for our plant exchange and a cover for the bed. I always intend to grow a green manure there so throw in some buckwheat over the summer. With some thinning all seem to thrive. Generally our other beds follow leaf root flower....if I remember . Arugula is everywhere and I let lambs quarters stay most places.
 
Casey Homecroft
Posts: 20
Location: Ohio, Zone 6a
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I've had really good results planting carrots and lettuce together. No rows, I basically just sprinkled all of the seeds over the bed. The lettuce germinates without any problems, and then the lettuce seedlings seem to help the carrots germinate by shading the ground a bit.
 
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