People commonly think that vegetable gardening requires a lot of work for a meager bounty and that such gardens inherently look messy. That needn't be the case! One way to create a high yield in small spaces that is diverse is by planting a polyculture cover crop. You can create your own plant constituency to suit your own tastes, but it should ideally give you a long season of leafy greens production and a fall root crop
Here's a recipe I like:
- Mix radish, spinach, arugula, mixed salad green, mizuna, carrot, and beet seeds in a bowl.
- Sow the mixture in an area where you will plant upright veggies like tomatoes, peppers, or basil.
- Harvest from late-May until November.
This mix provides early season radishes, micro greens including arugula, mid-summer mizuna greens, season-long arugula for cooking, and, just when you're ready to give up on your frost-withered garden, a crop of carrots and beets. In the meantime, it outcompetes weeds and acts as a living mulch that helps moderate soil moisture. What's not to like?!
~ Stephen Kung