|Thursday Tips & Techniques: Interplanting|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 30 June 2011|
Interplanting or intercropping is a technique that enables you to maximize your garden space by growing more vegetables in less space.
Interplanting refers to planting faster maturing crops next to slower maturing ones. The thinking is that by the time the slower growers need more space, the faster growers will have already been harvested. Examples of interplanting include planting carrots, kale, and tomatoes next to radishes, lettuce, or arugula. Interplanting isnít just for vegetables either. You can mix flowers and herbs with vegetables as well.
There are four different types of interplanting and any of them can be used in your garden. Row interplanting, where two or more crops are grown at the same time, strip intercropping where two or more crops grow together in separate rows but are close enough for the crops to interact. The third type is where two crops are mixed together without being planted in rows or any formal arrangement. The fourth, is relay intercropping and refers to planting a second crop into a standing crop at a time when the standing crop is at its reproductive stage, but before harvesting.
There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when using this technique. Because there are more plants per square foot, you need to make sure that the soil is fertile, friable and in good condition. You also need to stay on top of weeding because despite what we might feel about weeds, they are plants too and will compete with your vegetables for nutrients and moisture.
Photo source: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/designing-your-vegetable-garden.html