I’ve touched on these topics (intercropping and companion planting) before, but now I can show it to you in action and give some updates.
In this photo are examples of both practices – 1) lettuces are intercropped with tomatoes. Why? Lettuces are fairly benign plants, but they are not fans of the heat. Tomatoes like the heat and can get nice and big during the summer, thereby creating shade. Ok, it is now clear t0 all that I planted my tomatoes late, but they ARE growing quickly and they ARE starting to cast shade on the lettuces. I call that an early success. 2) To the left is a lot of green stuff…it is a row of tomatoes and basil (hard to tell because the basil is as tall as the tomatoes). This row is an example of companion planting. It is said that aromatic herbs, like basil, are beneficial plants to have near tomatoes. Why? Some aromatics deter pests. Others are reported to enhance the flavors or health of the plants they are near. We shall see! An experiment is on.
I need to take a photo, but I am concerned that my other intercropping experiment might turn into a slight failure. In another section of the garden, I have planted beets amongst the onions and garlic. The onions and garlic are doing fine, it’s the beets I worry about. I fear that I did not do a top-notch job on weed control which caused some of the beets to fail to germinate. Or, it is just too much competition for space and nutrients. At best, my beets are spotty. I’ll report on this test again soon.
Companion planting and intercropping are good options for tight spaces – for improved production and good utilization of spaces. I just need to keep learning how to do it better!