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Polyculture Market Garden Production

 
Posts: 119
Location: Southern IL zone 6b/7
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purity trees books
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It often seems like the permaculture ideals and making profitable market garden systems are at odds.  For example, a diverse mix of plants in a polyculture have many permie benefits, but can slow harvest and pose many other challanges for a market gardener that needs to make sure their system is profitable.  We talk a lot in these forums about how amazing polycultures are.

How do you balance plant diversity with a highly efficient market garden system?

THANKS!
 
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Location: Central Maine (5b)
fungi trees bee
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Abundant, diverse hedgerows between planting blocks! These will harbor lots of beneficials and trick 'pests'. You can plant edibles, culinary and medicinal herbs, and berries in these. Check out singing frogs farm in N California. They are doing something like this amid the blocks on their no-till market garden.

http://tobyhemenway.com/1172-checking-all-the-boxes-at-singing-frogs-farm/ <- Toby Hemenway giving a little info about his experience with the Kaiser's system
 
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Posts: 25
Location: Cobden, ON
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trees bee solar
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Hi,

Great question.

I talk about this in detail in my book.  Part of the way to succeed is to make very defined crop guilds that not only have companionship benefits but also manage well together from an efficiency point of view.  I outline our Guild Crop Rotation in detail and how a system of Permabeds can facilitate garden patterning of diversity more easily because the beds have a fixed place in space and the environment can be mapped accurately and efficiently.


-Zach
A SPECIAL EDITION copy of The Permaculture Market Garden with a hand-illustrated signature is available for a limited time when ordered from our website: www.kulafarm.ca
 
Michael Longfield
Posts: 119
Location: Southern IL zone 6b/7
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Thanks for the reply.  

I like to have some beds that I plant by broadcasting diverse seed mixes, creating a crazy jungle polyculture.  I have other beds that are designed for harvest efficiency while keeping some of the polyculture ideals.  What I do is each ~4 foot wide bed has 3 rows of plants running along the bed length wise.  Each row is a different plant, but the same plant occupies an entire row, making 3 main plants per bed.  I then allow useful and interesting weeds to remain in the bed, and just weed out the nuisances and the grasses.  Along with having the crazy polyculture beds scattered about, I think this is a good hybrid system.  
 
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