Christie's Regenerative Veggie Patch - Diversity Update
This is my veggie patch at the end of July last year! I was experimenting with multiple different species growing together, at different stages of development. In this particular bed there is Sicilian purple cauliflower (best tasting cauliflower EVER), rocket, cornflowers, nasturtiums, stocks, borage and calendula.
One of the biggest observations I made was that in the multi species bed, every plant seemed to be healthier and more vigorous than the other beds with only the single species.
Diversity in the species growing together also produced a more diverse range of insects and birds visiting this bed. Although there were more insects present, the ones you don’t want such as aphids never got to the point where they were doing much damage to the plants, because the beneficial insects such as ladybirds and hoverflies were eating them.
This year I’ve added cereal rye into the mix, as well as serradella, which is a nitrogen fixing legume. I haven’t added nasturtiums this time as we ended up with an early frost here in Wandering last month that prevented them from getting established.
I’ve been impressed at how well these plants have held up to our cold mornings over the past couple of weeks, and I think this is a pretty good mix going forward - I will back off the amount of cereal rye seed though, as it is definitely starting to take over!
Now is the time to check your weeding regime - if you do have weeds coming through your mulch layer, you may need a thicker layer of mulch. Either twist or pinch and pull the weeds, taking the tops off but not disturbing their roots, so their roots will stay in the soil and break down to feed the surrounding plants. If the weeds are too big you can use your secateurs to cut them off at ground level, which will ensure you’re taking the base of the stems off so they won’t grow back.
I’m also giving my plants a liquid feed of worm castings extract, and CS Black, with some seaweed extract in the mix too. These work together to feed the soil food web, and ensure that I’m not adding too much nitrogen, which would cause sappy growth and lead to more insect damage and frost susceptibility.
If you're looking for a diverse weekly selection of fruit and vegetables to fill the gap while you’re growing your own, check out our seasonal fruit and veg boxes. It’s cauliflower season now, so perhaps we’ll find a surprise cauliflower in next week’s box!