Well, I think (IMO...for what it's worth
) that alternating rows would be more beneificial than monocropping. If you were to plant alternating rows of 2 crops, 5 feet apart it's really not going to give great benefit as with traditional interplanting techniques. (at least, not the ones I've done so much reading about
When I imagine interplanting, I think of compatible plants being planted close to each other, as in touching above the soil. I think of roots being
intertwined at different levels of soil depth. I think of nitrogen fixing plants being planted with heavy nitrogen feeders, plants that repel insects being planted with plants that need protection from heavy infestations, plants that provide shade and trellising materials for other plants, plants that provide insect distraction (trap crops.) Plants that retain soil moisture, plants which enhance the flavors of other crops, plants that attract pollinating and predatory insects. I mean the variations go on and on. Most plants can provide something for another. The only problem is that if these combinations are not planted close enough, some are rendered useless. It's about sustainably getting as much out of your planting spaces as you can, in the most natural and diverse way possible.
...Having said that
, I am a current tiller...not because I think it's better, but because it's what I've got right now. It's all I've ever known up until recently. Next year, I will be experimenting with the raised rows, (that is if my fellow employees will continue to allow me to harrass the crap out them for their newspapers
!!!) and no till. We'll see where it goes from there. I wanna get on board with some of the listed readings about soil health and microbes
Just need to find the time...Kinda hard with work and garden getting close to peak season. Right now, I'm just trying to keep up with putting up the fruits of my labor
Trust me, I am not complaining.
I can say that I did some extreme interplanting this year, and it has been
everything I would have expected. I have large plants that are producing well, manageable pest control, and very little unplanted space in the garden,both horizontally and vertically, other than my walking paths. I am very impressed with what I'm seeing! This year has been a major learning curve for me. I got serious about going organic, and I DO, wholeheartedly, believe that diversity, by way of interplanting and other techniques, is the BEST way to do that.