Arranging different plant species close together so they can mutually benefit from each other, is the simplest way to describe companion planting. Occasionally, the benefits are one-sided, with one plant giving the other plant the majority of the benefits of the alliance out of altruism.
Sixolise Mcinga, senior analyst in sustainable agriculture at Green Cape, discusses how companion planting increases plant life.
Milking the mutual benefits
According to Mcinga, the whole principle around companion planting is making sure that the crops farmers choose are beneficial to one another. This is because they ultimately influence the germination, growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms.
“So that’s one way that it can be beneficial, and in another way, it can be detrimental to one another, because they ultimately influence the germination, growth, survival, and the reproduction of other organisms within the system,” she says.
She adds that with biological benefits, farmers are now starting to realise and want to tap a little bit more into companion planting.
“The benefits that you can have would be significantly reducing your use of chemical fertilisers. Because you’re planting beneficial crops that can provide each other with nutrients that they need to carry out their entire growth or life cycle of each crop,” she says.
Catching up with this week’s #SoilSista
Lindelwa Booi is a legal eagle who is also pursuing her farming dream, soaring to new heights. She is part of the Corteva Agriscience Women Entrepreneur Programme, and while working the soil, she conducts also awareness campaigns regarding gender-based violence and empowers victims.
In this episode, Mcinga also discusses:
- The commercial benefit of companion planting;
- How companion planting works for the management of agricultural pest control; and
- Companion planting examples.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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