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Companion Planting - Secrets of Organic Gardening



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Monoculture verses Mixed Planting.


Monoculture has many stories of devastation, in the history books. The companion gardener has learnt that it is far more profitable to mix crops, than to grow crops in monocultures.


Planting many different crops together is more likely to provide you with a better harvest, with both flowers and vegetables. But by mass planting just one crop, as you do with monocultures, can spell disaster, as if the crop gets infested, the best part of the crop will be lost. But with mixed cultures, if one plant gets infected the different plants along side will not be destroyed, so everything is not lost.


A classic example of monoculture was the potato blight in Ireland, which caused famine for many years. The same can happen with flowers, if they are planted in a monoculture. But spread individual plants around the garden, and the chances are that if one plant get infected the others will survive.


Monocultures, or a concentration of a single crop will allow pests or diseases to rapidly increase, once they get started, then the need to use pesticides and other chemicals, becomes necessary to control the problem.


Monocultures do not create the natural environment that encourages natural predators, which will thrive in a mixed culture planting. For instance, if your mixed culture garden was infested with greenfly, it would be unlikely to get out of control because of the natural predators that would be around the garden.


Monocultures are more prone to pest and diseases than mixed planting, and generally speaking the yield is lower with monocultures than mixed crops.  Modern farming and horticulture reply on monoculture, particularly in greenhouses, where they are very dependent on chemical spraying to keep pest under control.


Give me food grown by companion planting in preference to monoculture.


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