Fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers – polycultures anew

I have been having such a lot of fun the last two weekends planting in the newly prepared areas.  First to go in were the trees.  I wanted to get additional fruit in the garden and chose seven fruit trees from Ashridge Trees.  They have a good selection from which I chose:

  • Quince “Vranja”
  • Pear “Concorde”
  • Pear “Invicible”
  • Mirabelle “Ruby”
  • Gage “Reine Claude de Bavay”
  • Mirabelle “Golden Globe”
  • Cherry “Morello”
  • I also bought three amelanchiers and a number of cherry plums

These trees are to complement the apples, damson and plum planted last year.  The cherry plums have been planted in the outside hedge and the amelanchiers in other borders.  The main fruit trees are in the long border.

IMG_1443 trees

Between the trees I have planted a very varied mix of different things:

  • Onions of varying kinds round the trees (tree, Welsh, bunching and others)
  • Patches of mixed vegetables, herbs and flowers such as scorzonera, cumin and Welsh poppy or root parsley, self heal and vetch.
  • Patches of peas.

In various combinations I have planted / sown polycultures containing:

  • radish
  • parsnip
  • root chicory
  • earth nut pea
  • burdock
  • scorzonera
  • root parsley
  • beetroot
  • mooli radish
  • skirret
  • black cumin
  • dill
  • cumin
  • Welsh poppy
  • love in a mist
  • calendula
  • pansy
  • vetch
  • flax
  • self heal
  • buckwheat
  • Oskar very dwarf early pea
  • Boddingtons tall soup pea

As well as eating the edible parts of these plants they perform the following functions:

  • The root vegetables are to break up the ground as I have found that carrots and parsnips perform this function well on the solid clay and stony ground here.
  • The herbs are to attract beneficial insects and hopefully with their aromatic aromas to confuse pests.
  • The flowers are for their beauty and for insects.
  • The peas, vetch and earth nut pea all fix nitrogen.

There is some space left for more plantings which will be in May – more peas and beans and some flowers.  I am thrilled to have more growing space and for the first time (ever) it feels as though there is ample space to plant what I want and to organise things.  In the past I have always ended up squashing things together because I ran out of space so this is a real treat!


About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Borderland Garden, Edible Perennial Gardening, Fruit, Fruit trees and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers – polycultures anew

  1. Pingback: Tiny fruit trees – summer 2017 | Anni's perennial veggies

  2. Pingback: Review of ‘The Long Border’ | Anni's perennial veggies

  3. Pingback: Time to prune the tiny fruit trees | Anni's perennial veggies

  4. Pingback: Tiny fruit trees | Anni's perennial veggies

  5. Heart says:

    Looks like you have been planting “food forest” before it was popular. Could you share more about how you choose the plants that ‘get along’ together? I like that you mix them all together at the same time rather than ‘rotate’ seasonally. How do you lay out your beds? Do you practice ‘companion’ planting? Are your fruit trees the dwarf varieties? What is the Spacing? Do you hard prune? (so many questions 😉

    I also like the fence height extension. If it’s spaced like that on the top in it considered a ‘neighborly’ fence? So happy you have more space to plant & share your garden with us. Love your work!


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