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can veggies be part of polyculture gardens?

 
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Seems when I read permaculture books, when it comes down to growing the standard veggies for a kitchen garden, people simply advise to do the usual garden plot.

I envision a kitchen garden as a lush area filled with a variety of plants, each doing their own job, perhaps up to half of the species non-edible plants that serve other functions, and with the usual suspects planted in and around - tomatoes on a hugelkultur bed, for example. Or carrots interspersed with native polycultures that provide habitat for bees, nitrogen fixers, water retention in soil, etc.

I imagine going out to harvest some food and walking along the little winding paths, looking at a lush garden of mixed plants rather than row upon row of one thing and then another.

Is this possible? Why don't I read more about this?
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11352
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
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I think many polyculture gardens include "normal" vegetables. I know mine does! In my kitchen garden I have apple trees, pomegranate trees, canna, artichoke, French sorrel, perennial leek, garlic chives, Canada onions, walking onions, various herbs, roses, other perennial flowers, in clumps scattered throughout the garden as well as vegetable bed areas. Also a bird feeder and a little frog pond. I plan to add more perennial vegetables but continue to grow most of my annual vegetables in this garden which is convenient to the kitchen. I usually plant my annual vegetables in polycultures within the bed, including several types of vegetables in one patch.

What it looked like last Fall:




Here's an example of a garden with mixed clumps of everything including annual vegetables, all in one garden:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YHLmByKpts
 
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I plan on doing biointensive-style polyculture of veggies and flowers in my hugels... I'm not sure of that is a bad idea or not as this is basically my first year.
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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This is how I grow veggies, and on top of that herbs, nuts, grains, fruit.
 
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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I pant all of annual in gaps I have in my forest garden but mind you it's still in the early stage so I have a few at the moment until things grow in. I do plan on keeping a few of those gaps for annual even once everything grows in. So far I have not had any major pest issues and will be trying new pest deterrent in the spring for troubled annuals I had last year.

Kris
 
Mariah Wallener
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Thanks, everyone. That is very encouraging! We might be moving this summer (to the place next door!) which means planting a new garden so I'm trying to figure out how I want to do it. My current garden of raised beds never really got off the ground, and I think it suffered from not only benign neglect but also lack of an "ecosystem" in and around it (it was in the middle of a grass field). Really appreciate the video link too!
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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Here's a video of a large polyculture garden:
 
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