After posting about my experiments with intercropping earlier in the week, I had a great half hour so chatting on Twitter about other gardener’s intercropping ideas.
I found the time really useful, so a big thanks to all who got involved. Twitter is ace for this kind of thing, so if you don’t have an account, I’d recommend getting involved.
Given how handy I found all the input for my own mix and match intercropping experiments, I thought I’d try and summarise some of the best bits in a blog post.
Broad Beans and Potatoes
Douglas, of Sweet Pea Salads, (follow on Twitter @sweetpeasalads) grows his broad beans and potatoes together (pictured). The beds are 4 feet wide and planted 3 potatoes across. Douglas then plants his broad beans as a double row on top to poke through.
Sweetcorn and Dwarf French Beans
Douglas also grows his sweetcorn amongst French beans. By choosing a dwarf bean variety, they will grow underneath the sweetcorn plants whilst also supporting the corn plants. With some sweetcorn plants to go out, and another sowing of French beans planned for July I’ll definitely be trying this intercrop.
Spinach and Broad Beans
Being a vegetable that likes some shade, spinach is ideal for planting in between rows of broad bean plants. This is an intercropping idea that Emma from Crafty Garden Hoe (@craftygardenhoe) employs.
Beetroot and Squash
I was really intrigued by this idea from the London Herb Garden (@ldnherbgarden), especially considering that the squashes are trailed up a wigwam. The beets are grown around the squash plants and the squash runners gently coaxed up poles as they develop.
I love this intercrop, as it is ambitious, good use of space, and very decorative.
Sweetcorn, Runner Beans and Pumpkins
On the blog, Tigger’s Mum from My Cat’s Driving the Wheelbarrow described the three veg grouping that she uses. The combo includes tall sweet corn and runner beans, with an undercrop of pumpkins. The pumpkin leaves keep the corn roots cool in the heat of summer and the spent corn (and beans) get pulled up to allow the pumpkins to ripen in late autumn.
Roy and Tania reckon intercropping is the best way to grow, as it provides better use of beds and lessens the impact of pests and disease.
I’m still trying to work out how many examples of intercropping there are in the photo…
Once again, a big thanks to everyone offered up ideas.