Ultimately, interplanting helps you grow more with less space. Farmers have used interplanting systems for years to increase production and decrease erosion.
While it’s a handy method for anyone, it’s especially popular with those that have small-space gardens. When interplanting crops, there are 4 key principles to keep in mind:
Try grouping crops that need about the same amount of sunlight, water, and soil preference.
Take into account that plants have different root growth patterns. They can be shallow rooted, medium rooted, or deep rooted. The idea is to plant them so that won’t compete directly with each other by combining different root growth patterns. For example: Corn, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and lettuce are all shallow-rooted plants. Cucumbers, turnips, beans, summer squash, carrots, and peas are medium rooted. Tomatoes, asparagus, winter squash (including pumpkin), and parsnips are deep rooted.
Plants that belong to the same family make for an easy target for plant-specific pests if they’re located in the same area, so spreading them out can help.
Another consideration is growing fast-maturing crops in with slow-growing ones. For example, plant Brussels sprouts (slow growing) with radishes or beets (fast growing). Carrots interplanted with radishes is a popular combination.