Related ATTRA Publication:
Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources
A two-year study of intercropping at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Farm showed that companion cropping for vegetables can increase production. The results appear in Harvest Gains from Intercropping, available in PDF on the AgriLife Extension website. The study tested five different intercropping strategies using peanuts, watermelon, okra, cowpea, and hot peppers, crops chosen for their different growth habits and functions. Test plots showed that arrangements with three or four species consistently had a higher yield per land-area unit than crops grown singly. The intercropping also allowed reduced utilization of herbicide and fertilizer inputs. However, the researchers found that using more than four crops caused productivity to decline again. The best productivity came from plant selections that included a combination of nitrogen fixing-legumes, tall plants, and smother crops.
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