Intercropping is becoming still more interesting for commercial production of a range of crops. The reason is the various benefits, and the improved cleaning machinery for separating seeds from two or more crops after harvest.
What is intercropping?
Intercropping is defined as the growing of two or more crops simultaneously or sequentially on the same area of land. It is an age-old practice for allegedly sustaining agricultural production through improvement of soil structure, in addition to weed, pest and disease control.
Theoretically it is taking advantage of the symbiotic relationship among cultivars and species. It is currently widely used in subsistence and commercial agriculture.
What is a good intercropping system?
Maybe the first and still extremely popular intercropping system is the millpa system, originating from Mexico, combining maize with beans and pumpkin.
Librán‑Embid et al. 2023. Combining Milpa and Push‑Pull Technology
for sustainable food production in smallholder agriculture. A review.
In this way you have the cereal, which is used for the bean to climb on, and in the bottom of the crop you cover the ground with the pumpkin.
Another system is the mixing of lentil with a cereal, camelina or other crop. Like the climbing bean, lentil needs support as it is a small, weak plant.
Video with intercropping
See this video with Sven-Erik Jacobsen where oat and lentils are intercropping.
Maize being the tall plant, beans using the maize stalks as climbing poles and different types of squash covering the ground