• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Direct sowing a polyculture seed mix  RSS feed

 
Jordon Thompson
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast, Zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey fellow Permies! Please post your encouragements/warnings/cautions for my experiment this spring. I've created some gardening goals/experiments for my life, like creating my own cultivar of black mulberry. Another one is creating several different perennial vegetable polycultures. One in particular that I'm going to try this year is a mix of asparagus, husk cherry (physalis pruinosa), carrot, basil, yarrow and maybe some small greens to close in any gaps for ground cover. I've chosen these plants because

1) most of these plants are perennial or self seed,
2) asparagus and tomato get along,
3) Physalis pruinosa is related to tomato,
4) carrots and tomato get along,
5) basil and tomato get along,
6) if a = b and b = c, then maybe a = c,
7) asparagus, well controlled by our ravaging appetite, will leave plenty of light for these "understory" plants to find their own niches,
can be direct sown around the same time,
9) they are harvested at different times of the year, getting year-round, "hands-off" production from a single bed, and
10) they are all incredibly delicious.

Since I'm going to try this 50x25 sq ft area, and I'm sort of lazy, I was also thinking about just mixing all these seeds together in a bucket and direct sowing them at the appropriate time, and just crossing my fingers and let the strongest seeds win. I seriously don't want to have to do anything else besides casting the seed, maybe applying a thin layer of mulch over top, and forgetting it until the harvest time for each type of plant.

Please tell me I'm crazy and that this won't work. And tell me why! Thanks. PS- Don't tell me not to harvest asparagus until the third year, or that I should plant crowns not seed, or that I should only plant males and pull the females. I'm all aware of that. I actually want the asparagus to self seed and get weedy.
 
Jordon Thompson
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast, Zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Also, it seems that my number 8 bullet point is too cool for school.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1787
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't think it will work the way you imagine, but that doesn't mean something useful and educational will not grow.

I have been chucking seed about like a madman for several years now. A whole lot of it doesn't grow.

But some of it does. And the stuff that does is the stuff that I want, ultimately. Because I want stuff that will grow and produce without much or any attention.

Now here are some factors you didn't mention that could negatively impact your results:

1) Soil preparation: Are you starting from tilled earth, or existing bare ground, or existing vegetated ground? Existing vegetation is highly resistant to new seedling plants. When I direct sow into vegetation, germination is very modest and successful competition somewhat rare.

2) Weeds: This is related to soil preparation given that what grows in your polyculture that you did not plant is related to whatever you did not remove first, even if that's just root fragments and the seed bank in tilled ground. When I direct sow anywhere, the local weeds are a heavy competition factor for the plants growing from my seeds.

3) Water: I do all my direct sowing now right before a rainstorm. The rain seems to help enormously with getting the seeds into contact with moist earth and I get a lot more germination. Likewise, wandering around with a garden hose during dry periods, squirting water at anything I can see that's not obviously weeds, greatly enhances the survival of "my" stuff through the long hot dry summers we get here. Once a week is awesome, once every two weeks is better than nothing, and even once a month helps more than you would think. Some plants just need a tiny bit of help to make it through to the cooler wetter times again.

Ultimately most mundane gardeners would say that your scheme is not an efficient use of seed. But it sounds like a lot of fun to me!
 
Jordon Thompson
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast, Zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dan Boone wrote:I have been chucking seed about like a madman for several years now. A whole lot of it doesn't grow.

But some of it does. And the stuff that does is the stuff that I want, ultimately. Because I want stuff that will grow and produce without much or any attention.


I like your way of thinking, Dan!

Soil Prep: It's a series of beds that were sheet mulched. They have lots of organic matter, some red clay, and worms. Good stuff, well drained, I'm not worried about the soil.

Weeds: Not too worried about that, I've had annual vegetables in it last year, didn't have too many weed problems then, and I had my chickens over the area for awhile over the winter so I'm sure they cleaned up lots of weed seeds.

Water: I'm definitely going to be looking at the weather forecast and try to plant before a storm. Thanks for the tip.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Broadcast, then rake, then water.
Assume most of your broadcasted seeds will not make it. (Tasty meals for birds, little soil contact (fail/no germination, poor root development)
Overseed and cull 80% of what does survive
Hopefully you know what you are planting and kill anything else that you see germinating/growing that doesn't look like it, every week.

Personally I would broadcast one plant per grid/row and another the next, that way I can figure out what id growing where. Or better yet do a regular sowing the 1st year and then let it self seed randomly the following year.
 
Did you just should on me? You should read this tiny ad:
This is an example of the new permies.com Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!