The advantages of associating vegetables in your garden
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Just as human beings between themselves, plants sometimes have more affinity with certain vegetable species than others. To such an extent that a branch of science called phytosociology has even been developed to study the relations between plants from different species.
In nature, wild plants are not there by chance. The various species cohabitate and often knit very close ties. These even go so far as to assisting each other so as to better defend against attacks by parasites, or better exploiting the environment in which they live.
When composing your garden, this also involves associating vegetables between themselves so as to recreate this harmony which will allow for optimised production in a natural manner.
The benefits of associating vegetables in a patch
Well before scientists could explain the reasons, country dwellers had already noticed some beneficial associations by growing several different specials in the same plot. Today, organic farmers use the technique of associated crops (or vegetable buddying). It can, of course, be applied to a vegetable garden but also a decorate garden and has a host of benefits.
- Optimising production : By bringing together two species whose roots do not dig to the same depth and who do not have the same rate of growth. E.g.: Tomatoes and radishes, or lettuce and carrots
- Optimisation of space : Certain plants may facilitate the growth of other plants. E.g.: A high plant, such as the sunflower, may be used as a tutor for a climber (beans) and provide shade for climbers (leeks).
- Soil coverage : The multiplication and variety of cultivated plants will leave less space for 2weeds" to grow. It will also allow for better protection and fertility of the soil by avoiding evaporation of water and any slaking crust.
- Elimination of rodents : By alternating vegetables from different species in the same plot, you will slow down, or even completely stop the spread of rodents and illnesses inherent to a particular species.
Solabiol Tip :
Plant associations are not only limited to vegetables. Other combinations are possible and just as beneficial :
- Beyond the decorative aspect, the association of vegetables/flowers also has advantages, such as better pollenisation and fertility of fruit and vegetables.
- The association of vegetables and aromatic plants is also interesting. The essential oils they contain will protect your vegetables from certain attacks. For an effective association, use aromatic plants in a pot which you can move around your garden.
How can you properly associate vegetables in the garden?
Begin by drafting a plan and breakdown of your garden by respecting the principles of crop rotation and plant associations. To assist you, we propose that you consult the vegetable association table (also called the buddying table) below. After determining the plant varieties that you want to cultivate, you can then sew or plant.
For vegetables, we advise an "alternated linear" growth. Two options are available:
- Move down a row each year
- Pivot the rows by 90° each year.
Do not forget to respect the 4 year crop rotation period to avoid the soil becoming exhausted over time.