How to Mix Plants in a Vegetable Garden

Overview

Interplanting, or intercropping, is the mixing of vegetables in your garden to maximize your harvest. Used for thousands of years, this method is easily implemented because many different plants are cooperative and able to share small spaces. Use interplanting to make the most of your gardening space.

Step 1

Plan your garden ahead of time. Know the growing requirements of your crops as well as root depth and speed of maturation.

Step 2

Purchase seeds and seedlings, then plant crops with short roots between the rows of crops with long roots. For instance, short-rooted plants such as broccoli can grow in between rows of deep-rooted plants such as sweet potatoes.

Step 3

Plant shade-loving crops in the middle of rows of taller crops. Crops such as lettuce prefer a cooler temperature and benefit from growing in the shade of sweet corn or tomatoes during the hot summer.

Step 4

Plant slower-growing crops within the rows of crops that mature rapidly. One example is to plant radishes, which will be ready in a short amount of time, in between rows of carrots, which have a longer season.

Step 5

Use one plant as a trellis for another plant. If you want sweet peas, which grow quickly and vertically, plant your peas amidst stalks of sweet corn mid-season.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds
  • Seedlings

References

  • Vegetable Garden: Intensive Gardening Methods
  • Intercrop Your Small Vegetable Garden
  • Interplanting Vegetables

Who Can Help

  • Interplanting Vegetables: Root Depth, Plant Height
Keywords: interplanting vegetables, intercropping, mixing plants

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.