The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Accidental polyculture

Watermelon and potato polycultureWhile weeding the mule garden this week, I discovered an unintentional polyculture.  I had pulled out all the seed potatoes from my fall potato experiment because they weren't sprouting --- or so I thought.  It turns out that one potato was overlooked, and it popped up between the leaves of a watermelon I'd planted at the end of the bed.

Meanwhile, my primary purpose for the bed was to plant fall carrots.  I seeded three different beds with carrots this summer, but very few seedlings came up in two of the beds.  However, in my polyculture bed, the watermelon took off and ran across the carrot area, shading the soil and retaining Carrot seedlingsenough moisture for the seeds to sprout.  All three vegetables seem to be growing quite happily together so far, though I recently moved the watermelon tendrils aside to give the baby carrots room to grow.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that the carrot seeds in the other beds may have had shoddy germination rates because they were a different variety than those sown in the polyculture bed.  I usually have very good luck with Jung's Sweetness hybrid carrots, but the pack this year seems to have been a dud --- germination was low in our spring carrot bed too.  Next year, I might change my loyalties to one of the seed companies recommended by Steve Solomon.

Take the guesswork out of DIY.  Our homemade chicken waterer kit comes with an instruction manual that helps you make the very best waterer for your specific flock.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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i've had fantastic luck with Renee's Garden's 'Bolero' Nantes seeds. it's a company he talks about but does not outright recommend. of course our climates are very different. i'm in a zone 9. and you are in a 7? but i think you'd still do quite well with them.

all three other seeds i have purchased from them have been stunners as well. high germ. healthy, consistent plants. good/high yeilds.

Comment by kevin Mon Aug 9 03:17:36 2010
We're zone 6, or zone 7 if you believe the new Arbor Day maps. I ordered a couple of packets from Renee's Garden once, and remember them being specialty seeds --- expensive, and not necessarily the heavy producers I'd want for my main crops. On the other hand, I didn't give their whole catalog and a real try. (And you get what you pay for --- you only get one chance at planting fall carrots, and if they don't come up, you're out of luck. I wouldn't have minded paying an extra 5 bucks for them to actually come up.)
Comment by anna Mon Aug 9 07:45:28 2010
I have some seed potatoes and watermelon seedlings that need to be dug in asap...but I only have space in one of my 4x8 raised beds...can they be planted together? Did you emd up getting a good crop? And how are the watermelon affected by mounding up the taters?
Comment by Amanda Suzzi Tue May 31 09:25:53 2016

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