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Interplanting Vegetables: Root Depth, Plant Height

February 12, 2012

Interplanting is a growing method that will allow you to fit more vegetable plants in a single planting bed. It is a way to increase your crop yield. Interplanting is also called intercropping.

Interplanting is often used in intensive vegetable gardening where an effort is made to use all available space in the growing area–the counter point to single row planting which requires the most cropping space since the space between rows goes unplanted. (In intensive gardening you can space plants individually equidistance apart or in wide rows–several plants across a row to as much as 4 feet wide.)

There are several ways to interplant your crops. You can grow fast-maturing plants, such as radishes, between slower growing ones, say chard. The radishes will be ready for harvest before the chard begins to mature and requires more space to spread out. This way of interplanting borders on succession cropping–bringing one crop to harvest after another keeping the planting bed productive all season.

You can also interplant crops with different growing habits, tall crops near short ones, or deep-rooted with shallow-rooted. Crops interplanted by growing habit can be set equidistant according to their size (height and breadth or root depth) at maturity; or they can be planted in their own alternate rows in a wide bed.

Interplanting requires planning. You need to know the days to maturity for each crop and its height and breadth at maturity or its root depth at maturity. Do some planning on paper once you have decided on the crops you will be growing this season.

To assist your planning here are two charts that might help: one for plant height at maturity, one for rooting depth:

Root Depth

Shallow Rooting (18 to 36 inches)

Medium Rooting (36 to 48 inches)

Deep Rooting (more than 48 inches)

Broccoli  Beans, snap  Artichokes
 Brussels sprouts  Beets  Asparagus
 Cabbage  Carrots  Beans, lima
 Cauliflower  Chard  Parsnips
 Celery  Cucumbers  Pumpkins
 Chinese cabbage  Eggplant  Squash, winter
 Corn  Peas  Sweet potatoes
 Endive  Peppers  Tomatoes
 Garlic  Rutabagas  
 Leeks  Squash, summer  
 Lettuce  Turnips  
 Onions    
 Potatoes    
 Radishes    
 Spinach    

Plant Height

Tall

Medium

Short

 Beans, pole  Anise  Basil
 Broccoli  Artichokes  Beets
 Corn, sweet  Broccoli  Borage
 Fennel  Brussels sprouts  Cabbage
 Mustard  Lemon balm  Caraway
 Okra  Beans, bush  Carrots
 Peas  Broccoli  Cauliflower
 Sunchokes  Brussels sprouts  Celery
 Tomatoes  Cardoon  Chervil
   Chard  Chives
   Chinese cabbage  Corn salad
   Collards  Dandelion
   Coriander  Endive
   Cucumber  Garlic
   Dill  Kale, dwarf
   Eggplant  Kohlrabi
   Hyssop  Leeks
   Kale, curled  Lettuce
   Lavender  Onions
   Marjoram  Parsley
   Peas, dwarf  Parsnips
   Peppers  Radishes
   Potatoes  Rutabaga
   Pumpkins  Savory
   Rhubarb  Thyme
   Sage  Turnips
   Spinach  
   Squash  
   Sweet potatoes

 

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2 Comments
  1. drjeff7 permalink

    I love the chart. It helps to keep things simple. Thanks for sharing your story and knowledge with us.

    Heritagebreedfarms.wordpress.com

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  1. Interplanting to maximize production and enrich soil | Mr. and Mrs. G Grow Veggies

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