For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Polyculture, I would recommend reading my previous article: Proven Permaculture Polyculture Plantings: Part 1
Today, I have a single polyculture to add to my list. This one is mine, and it seems to continue to do well. I thought I would share it…
Proven Permaculture Polyculture Plantings: Part 2
1. Mint, Parsley, Plantain, Scallions
- Mint (Mentha species) has amazing flavor, it attracts beneficial insects, is an aromatic pest confusor, groundcover, and dynamic accumulator.
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a biennial that reseeds so easily it acts like a perennial. It is an herb, spice, or vegetable. It is a beneficial insect attractor and dynamic accumulator. (The photo is showing one of my few curly-leaf varieties; however, most of mine are the flat-leaf or Italian variety.)
- Plantain (Plantago species) is a potherb and salad green and has edible seeds. It is a dynamic mineral accumulator, is tolerant of drought, attracts beneficial insects, and is a great forage crop for animals.
- Scallions (also known as Green Onions, Spring Onions, etc.) (Allium species) great tasting, very useful kitchen herb or vegetable. It is an biennial that can be treated like an annual. I have not had it in place long enough to know if it will reseed easily, but it can almost be kept like a perennial if you do not allow it to go to seed. Also, every once in a while, I will just plant the rooted bottoms of store-bought scallions (see my article on sprouted garlic here).
- Notes: This combination has been growing well together for just over a year. I am currently in a mild weather location that does not freeze in Winter. I imagine that they would also do well in a cooler location, but the scallions may not make it well after a freeze, although that depends on the variety, as many are biennials… also, they grow from seed so easily, that a light spreading of seed in the Spring may be worth the trouble. These plants all get full to partial sun each day. The Mint can grow well in shade and the Parsley will tolerate some shade as well, but the Plantain and Scallions really do best in full to mostly sunny locations. Parsley has a taproot, Plantain can have deep fibrous roots or taproots, the Scallion has fibrous, fairly shallow roots, and the Mint has very shallow roots, so there is a good distribution through the soil without major conflict. The Parsley clumps and can form pretty tight bunches, but the Mint works its way through. The Scallions have a tall, thin profile, so they don’t compete much with any other plant. The Plantain has larger leaves that don’t allow much to grow under it, but the Mint finds its way around everything. I expect that this combination would work well as an herbaceous groundcover under trees and open shrubs that allow a moderate amount of light through. I plan on experimenting with this polyculture more in the future, and I will share my results.
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