Maybe my interest in polycultures is veering towards an obsession; or perhaps it veered a while ago. My actual garden space is limited so some plants that cannot be accommodated in the main polyculture patches have found homes in potted polycultures. These are themed and include:
- greens’n’beans pot 1 to pot 5
- roots’n’beans pot 1 to 5
- pots of mixed greens
- miscellaneous onions plus clover
- salads plus clover
Most of the plants are perennials or potential perennials but a few are annuals.
Each of the greens’n’beans pots has one or more cabbage / kale, a type of onion, a salad leaf plus beans. The roots’n’beans include oca / yams / scorzonera plus beans and maybe a few extras in some pots. Some of the combinations were planned, but others arose as a consequence of running out of space and putting what was ready for potting on in together.
Yesterday I did a mini census of my favourite pots and noted their progress to date. Here are some of the things I found out:
- pots with clover in are doing well, onions and clover seem to be particularly happy together
- some pots are overfilled and / or one plant is taking over
- the cabbages / kales are growing faster than their counterparts planted out in the veg patches
- some of the root crops are doing better in pots than in the garden. As they are in deep pots I am wondering if they appreciate the depth of the soil or if the fertility is better in the pots or both? Or maybe it’s the location?
It is too early to tell, but I suspect that the cabbage / kales in pots may not like being in their pots for ever, as they will in due course grow into large and hungry plants. However even if the pots are temporary homes the plants are thriving and growing; and they can, I think, be transplanted if space becomes available in the main garden. They have grown large enough to withstand the slugs whereas some of those in the garden have been slugged quite badly in recent wet spells.
I am minded to spend some time tomorrow mulching like mad one part of the main polyculture patch. It began life as a short gravel path on the edge of the patch and has been planted in out of desperation. However it has had little or no mulch (can’t quite remember) which is evident now I have compared it to the potted polycultures and the other garden polycultures.
Here are some pictures of:
- roots’n’beans 2 – yam, beans, lettuce, parsnips (only small and hiding)
- greens’n’beans 2 – spring onions (year 2) beans, rocket, kale (recently attacked by caterpillars and cut back), lettuce
- my pretty pot, as all veggies and no flowers would be dull!