July 29, 2017 by

Companion planting (aka interplanting, bio-diverse planting) is an ancient farming method of using different plant species, planted in close proximity, to enhance and support each other. Among its benefits are reduction in the numbers of plant pests, enhanced growth and flavor, attraction of beneficial and weed suppression. Click on Poster to Enlarge Evidence has been found of this planting method being used for thousands of years all over the globe: the Roman Empire, the Americas and Asia. For example, about 2,000 years ago the Roman agriculturalist, Varro, declared “Large walnut trees close by, make the border of the farm sterile.” The ancient Romans also found that orchards grew with less disease and pests if they planted grains alongside their fruit and nut trees. Intercropping was also a fundamental practice in Asian cultures.

The most well-known example of companion planting is the Three Sisters Garden (planting corn, pole beans and squash together). While our folklore traces this back to the Iroquois Indians, it has been connected to the ancient indigenous peoples of South America as well. In this planting strategy, the corn provides support for the pole beans, the pole beans enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen from the air into the root zone converting it into a form that is easily taken up by the corn’s roots (a heavy nitrogen feeder). The squash’s big leaves then shade the feet of the corn and beans to slow the evaporation of moisture from the soil. Though this method has been handed down from generation to generation throughout our history as agrarians and all around the globe, there is little significant university research that has conclusively proven that it works or even begins to explain how.

Post Courtesy goediables.com