LILLIE HOUSE POLYCULTURE
Here’s the mix that Kim and I came up with for Lillie House, and I’ve now used it in gardens around the region.
What’s different about this mix is that it uses “ecological succession,” mixing annuals (plants that only live 1 year) with perennials (plants like asparagus that live for many years) so that it creates permanent guilds.
As the plants fill in, we can thin them, eating all the thinnings as greens, so that we keep a spacing where the plants are not quite touching, or are barely touching.
The super simple Main Mix: Sow in Spring, March-May
1 package “mesclun mix.”
1 package Garden sorrel.
Small White Radishes, don’t use daikons for this.
Walking onions if available.
The ULTIMATE Main Mix: Sow in Spring, March-May.
Butter lettuce (sometimes considered the best self-sown lettuce.)
Small White Radishes
Walking onion top sets, maybe 5 for every 10’ of garden.
Amaranth, Hopi red dye
Note: Don’t add brassicas for Spring in this kind of garden.
Not too many of these (these are allelopathic and will keep other seeds from germinating if we sow too many. This is the usual reason polycultures fail is that if these are over used it’s all that germinates. Still some can be included.)
PLANT IN SUMMER. (Approx. last week in May.)
By the last week in May, the garden should be filled with lots of veggies. As we pull some veggies, we can plant in some of these. Consider adding a scoop of compost with each if available:
Bush Squash, like bush delicata or patty pan squash.
START FROM SEED in Spring (or buy plants,) Plant in SUMMER
Tomatoes (especially “Galapagos,” which can become self sowing.)
Perennial herbs like chives
ADD IN LATE SUMMER (Start these indoors in June, plant in the shade of taller veggies in late July or August.)
SOW FROM SEED IN LATE SUMMER:
Plant in Fall if desired for next year:
PUT THE GARDEN TO BED.
“Chop and drop” any plant materials such as tomato and squash vines to make a nice mulch over the garden. In this spring this can be pulled back to reveal a nice weed-free bed for next year’s garden.