Today and tomorrow are the two best days of the month for planting root vegetables according to the phases of the moon, so if you're planning a winter garden, now is a good time to get that stuff in, especially parsnips. July would be the only other month for winter roots.
You see that?
No, I mean THAT.
That's a pac choi. I found it the other day as a huge surprise, because it seeded itself. Well, I'm not sure about that. All I can say is that I've tried unsuccessfully for the past two years to grow pac choi so I gave it up and threw out the remainder of my seed. But here it is, all on its own as a giant surprise.
This bed is one of several in which I've planted all manner of things in the spirit of permaculture guilds, and in which I've allowed to grow most things that sprout on their own like lettuces, cucurbits (they all look like cucumbers, unfortunately- oddly, I was hoping for zucchini), and this pac choi. The lettuces have been a bit of a revelation, actually. New, baby lettuce plants keep coming up all over the place where I've spread compost as a mulch, which was obviously not finished and definitely not hot enough to kill seeds. This is important, because I haven't had to succession plant any lettuce this summer. Between the waves of new lettuce growth and the serendipitous pac choy, I have an idea.
Next year as an experiment, I'm going to mix several different seed varieties into some mulch (probably compost again) and spread that over one bed in late winter or early spring and see what happens. I'll probably do lettuces, maybe pac choi, onions, carrots, kales, summer squashes, possibly green beans, and anything else I can think of between then and now that I think would work. My reasoning is that you have to thin some crops anyway, so if it all comes up too thickly, I'd just thin it. It would take much of the guesswork and labor of succession planting out of the mix because plants would come up when they are ready and conditions are favorable.
If this idea sounds intriguing and you want to try it as well, I'd be very interested in knowing how it worked for you. In any case, I'll report back how it worked for me.