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Coconut and marigold intercropped in India. The marigolds have shallow roots, while the coconut trees have deeper roots; so they do not compete for the same soil space. They also do not compete for sunlight, with the coconuts providing the partial shade that marigolds usually need.

Intercropping is growing two or more crops next to each other at the same time. The main purpose of intercropping is to produce more crops in a given area. It also makes use of resources (nutrients) that would otherwise not be used by a single crop. Crops are selected such that their nutrient requirements are different. This way, the crops can give the same returns but require less space.

Things to consider when choosing which crops to mix include the soil, climate and varieties. It is very important not to have crops competing with each other for space, nutrients, water, or sunlight. An example of an intercropping strategy is planting one crop that has deep roots with another that has shallow roots.

Intercropping has been proposed as an alternative to slash-and-burn farming, which is very bad for the environment.[1]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Elkan, Daniel. Slash-and-burn farming has become a major threat to the world's rainforest The Guardian 21 April 2004