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Spacing similar plants far apart

 
Ben Bishop
Posts: 54
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Hey everyone,

Ever since I started learning about permaculture, this idea made perfect sense to me but I rarely see it put into practice: Not planting the same type of plant next to itself. This applies particularly to annuals susceptible to pests and disease. In all of my gardens, I make a conscious effort to spread out annuals like cruciferous vegetables, or curcubits, etc. I'm interplanting other crops, alliums, wild weeds, and flowers instead. I'm sure you all understand the logic behind this, but do you do it yourself?
 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 156
Location: Emporia, KS
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Yes and no. The first few years I planted annuals after learning about permaculture, I mixed everything all together. The plants grew fine, but I had a really hard time thinning them (since I had to identify each one at various stages of development and decide whether I wanted a nearly-mature radish to shade an immature bean, etc. etc.) and harvesting them (since everything was scattered all over the place).

So more recently I've taken a page from Square Foot Gardening. I don't measure out the square feet, but I plant in blocks of 2-3 square feet. When I head out to plant, I take a handful of seed packets, and I go through them in arbitrary order, plant a block from the first packet, put it away and plant a block from the next packet, etc. until I've gone through all the packets, then I shuffle and repeat, or put them away for a week or two before planting from them again in a new spot. That way the seedlings in each block are easy to identify, thin, and harvest, but (I hope) not large enough to be vulnerable to pests.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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If one observes plants in nature, most often plants of a particular species are found in patches of several together. Not isolated individuals, and not vast fields of just one predominant species (although both of these do occur, and may therefore be appropriate in some cases).
 
Ben Bishop
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Alder Burns wrote:If one observes plants in nature, most often plants of a particular species are found in patches of several together. Not isolated individuals, and not vast fields of just one predominant species (although both of these do occur, and may therefore be appropriate in some cases).


Very true, but here I am speaking specifically about cultivated annual varieties that may not have the defense capabilities of hardy wild plants found in forests or other ecosystems. In addition, it may be the case that those bunching plants HAVE to be close together since they don't spread by seed very easily due to canopy shade or other factors that would make them propagate from the root or stolons etc. We don't know for sure that they wouldn't do better and compete less with more space.
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