Looking for low labour, low cost and low maintenance gardening?
Here you’ll discover 5 benefits of interplanting vegetables in the garden and using open-pollinated seeds.
1. A Continual Food Supply
Interplanting in the vege garden is great because it means you usually always have something growing and something to eat. Even if it is a low growing season, if you have interplanted herbs such as parsley you are guaranteed to have something green to add to your meals.
Kale, Comfrey, Pumpkin and Amaranth (above).
Simba Bush Beans with self germinated Tommy Toe Tomatoes plus Parsley, Marjoram and Thyme (top image).
2. Natural Pest Deterant
Interplanting is great for confusing predator bugs, particularly when planting veges with herbs. When bugs land on an entire crop of the one plant species, they call in their friends and relatives to join the feast! If you are interplanting different species, you may get a few lone bugs but they tend not to eat too much.
Cucumber vines growing on Amaranth, living stakes (above).
3. Plants can Self-Seed
The method of intercropping different vegetables and herbs lends itself well to low labour replanting. If you use open pollinated seeds originally then what you have grown will probably grow again when it’s time is right. Letting what you have grown go to flower, (if you want more of them) and drying the seeds on the plant after it’s fruited will allow them to naturally fall into your garden and grow. It is a great way to re-plant and contain your own ‘seed bank’ in the soil. And the bees love the flowering stage!
4. Shelter for the Seedlings
Whether you’re planting seedlings, or they have self-seeded, the beginning of their life can benefit from the natural shade cover provided by the surrounding plants. Established plant cover will also help to contain moisture in the soil for the little ones to grow.
Parsley and Lettuce after flowering with the seeds drying and dropping in the garden. Lettuces that have self-seeded and are growing under the shady cover (above).
5. Less Weeds
Weeds are opportunitists and will move in and occupy bare ground. They work like a bandaid with a mission to heal the ground, because bare ground means less microbes or ‘life’ in the soil. Keeping your garden full of vegetables and herbs will eliminate space for weeds. And because existing plants will create shade on the ground means the weeds will also have a hard time getting established.
Interplanting and self-seeding open pollinated plants in the vege garden makes gardening interesting because you never know what is going to come up. I had to get over the ‘neat’ garden theory, as sometimes with dying things in the garden it can look a bit messy but the benefits are worth it. It’s like giving nature what it needs then stepping back and allowing it to work it’s magic!
At the end of the day, farming is all about producing food. Blog author Sonja Kallio writes about supporting farmers and growers to adopt a regenerative approach with growing, to increase the nutrient density of food for a healthy population and a healthy planet.