planning a poly culture experiment I would love to hear from any one else that has tried this
we have a large garden area , but also many deer ,bunnies,raccoons, squirrels and ground hogs . we have fox and coyote but they are slacking and the plant eaters are flourishing.
I am thinking of trying a seed mix rather than monoculture, will still plant in rows to make weeding easier ( I so I know what to let grow, and to make it easier to control bind weed !) , but mixed seeds in the rows to deter the deer and confuse the bugs . I found a deer resistant wild flower mix on line and am thinking of blending that with my chard ,beets ,radish,dakion radish ,lettuce ,kale, Asian kale , mustard ,bok choy ,parsely ,dill ,onion chive and garlic chive . with my snow peas added along the fences ( any other suggestions for the cold weather mix ?)
I figure a blend of cold tolerant stuff first . then I can come along and sow in blend of warm weather stuff beans, cucumber ,tomato ,ect then plug in transplants where cool crops were used of melon eggplant squashes pumpkin and pepper
the perimeter where the deer really got me bad this year I plan to seed with radish, mangle ,kale, cow pea,bean ,plus saved squash and pumpkin seed and a clover/ vetch mix to try to make the critters happy to stay on the perimeter , will add the cow peas and some beans because they really enjoyed my bean leaves and jumped 2 fences to get to the green beans and strip the leaves .
.the potatoes will also go out on the perimeter this year along with some of the tomatoes since they seem less attractive to our deer .
this year they ate every squash plant Last year they also did lots of damage . we have re dug the farm pond a few acres away from the garden so we are hoping that will also help .
we also have opened the farm to some friends and local police officers that hunt, in the hopes that some one will get lucky and decrease the deer population
any suggestions for how to use this type mix in the seeder ? ( Husband loves his seeder ) I was sort of thinking mix all the similar size seeds together and make 2 rows close of the early stuff
1 row of the tiny seeds and one of the larger seeds
another option would be mix it all with sand or DE and sprinkle but husband really loves his walk behind seeder ! it is his main contribution to the garden I imagine he will not be pleased if it is not needed !
.Also any ideas for filler seed ( low cost edibles to help space the other seed ) that would be early harvest to make space as the others grow ?
would love ideas , for the critter areas as well as the human garden
my experience with deer resistant plants has been that the deer still eat them they just are more likely to eat the tastier stuff first. also what I have read is that deer eat different plants in different places and at times when there is fewer food for them they will start trying food they previously had not tried. some people grow asparagus and deer leave it alone and in other locations they love asparagus. i have talked to people who grew asparagus for 20 years with no deer trouble then on a bad year with less food for deer they tasted it and now years later the deer in that area still love to eat the asparagus. I think to find the plants that are most likely to deter deer you will want to talk to local people and find out what works best where you live.
you also might want to look into seeing if there are things you can do to attract more predators to your garden and see if that helps.
so far I am working hard at the predators , we are limited because the property goes from a swamp to meadow to a wooded area then the garden before the road with woods accross the street with many acres in between the deer know the coyotes do not like to be up by the houses ,but my garden is right in the middle of their range .
so we have invited 2 footed predators ( hunters )
The chief of our towns police , the son of the former chief also a police officer , and at least 6 or more other hunters
I am going for my permit soon every one else in the family already has so I figured it makes sense , and if all else fails I will be hunting next year ( I was a marksman so I figure I can relearn with a civilian rifle )
I have no desire to hunt or dress a deer , so I am hoping the hunting crew will dispatch a few from this herd and decrease the pressure .
I am trying hunters and mixed plantings , adding things that are less desirable in between my food plants and planting some things they like away from the garden just for them with the added water source that we did not have the last few years , Our pond had become too shallow and dried up early the last few years (we really deepened and enlarged the pond in the meadow this fall ) , and the 500 more feet of deer net I added ( it will be used like row covers as when used as fence they rip it ). I also have some tall coppice wood to make trellis type partitions so they have a less clear area to jump . ( see I really have been thinking about these critters , but darn they are devilish when there are bean leaves to be had !)
I am hoping all these things will work together to make the garden less desirable . I am also removing understory plants from the wood line so they loose the ability to be 30 feet away watching me with out me seeing!
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade