Companion and Interplanting what is the difference

anthonyjamesOctober 21, 2010

So I am trying to plan my garden now for next year. I had a terrible year with the garden this year. Just to busy and no care. So very little return for work I started and ended up traveling alot.

Next year since I am dropping hours at my real job to add more time to my poultry venture that has taken off I will have more time to focus on the garden again. I am pretty new to gardening and would like to maximize all I can.

So I am trying to understand the differences between interplanting and companion planting and they sound the same. I am also trying to find plans that other people have used or currently use to get some ideas.

I can tell you what I like to grow:

Corn - I normally plant about 150 seeds total per year

Snap peas



Green/Yellow squash

Pumpkins - for the kids

Basil, Orgeno, Thyme, Sage



Probably more but these are main ones that I try to grow every year.

Any advice, plans, timing would be greatly appreciated.


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If it helps any, my understanding of companion planting vs interplanting is the purpose.

Companion planting is growing different plants together or near each other that benefit each other. For example, planting basil by tomatoes is supposed to give you better tomatoes. Planting radishes (and letting them grow) is supposed to repel certain squash pests. Marigolds are said to repel many garden pests.

Interplanting is more about utilizing space It's growing plants together with different growth habits (how much space they use above ground, how much space they use below ground) to maximize the number of plants you can put in a space.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 11:37PM
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greenbean08 is right. The purpose of companion planting is to enhance the plants by growing certain combinations together. The article in the link below gives excellent advice on this topic. Just remember that most information on companion planting is anecdotal, not scientific. There are so many variables each growing season that it's very difficult to determine the true cause of any particular outcome.

Good luck. It's fun to try these things but don't expect miracles.


Here is a link that might be useful: Companion planting

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:29PM
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Thanks for the info. I guess my next question is what do most do?

Is intercropping a good way to go and does anyone have any type of calendar or layout with timing to view to get some ideas? I am looking to maximize everything I can.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:38PM
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Personally, I do companion planting but I don't do intercropping so much. I find when I've tried it, I tend to lose track of what I have where and I miss a number of little plants in their prime. I don't know exactly how that happens, it looks good when I put it on paper, but it's not worth the bother for me.

I like to use companion planting but generally only where I don't have to worry about harvesting the companion. For example, I planted radishes with my squash last year but I didn't harvest the radishes (though I did take some seed at the end of the season). If it's something with 2 comparable sized plants, I may plant to harvest both though.

Of course, this is just my opinion at the moment, it's always possible I'll change my ways again... ;-)

You might check your library for a book called High-Yield Gardening. It's older, but if I remember right (sorry, mine is packed away right now) there's quite a bit of information on interplanting.

Here is a link that might be useful: This book...

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 12:39AM
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I try to maximize the use of the space by planting lower growing crops next to taller ones. One example is planting an early crop of something like spinach and later putting a tomato plant in the center of the patch. The spinach will be finished before the tomato has gotten very large and they don't seem to bother each other at all. Another is to plant cukes or tomatoes on trellises surrounded by a smaller growing variety of basil or bush beans.

I've never been particularly concerned about the "companion" aspect of it except for the space consideration. I've used the traditional combination of marigolds and tomatoes and haven't noticed any decrease in the pest problems. But it's not scientific, just my observations.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 11:55AM
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Square foot gardening by definition is intensive. I find it hard to cram more plantings into the spacings recommended. So I maximize planting by keeping seedlings in a nursery ready to transplant into a square that is vacated. I find that to be all the planning One could want. Large plants like tomatoes,Pole beans,Cucumbers will affect plants in the next square due to watering needs. Another way to look at it is, if there is no room for weeds, there is no room for extra plantings and i have very few weeds


    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:18AM
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This is my second year using a freen tool called kitchen garden aid - it's a grid of your garden. It will tell you what veges work well together and which don't. (my little kids love playinh with it too) It will also remember what you planted last year so you don't replant the same family in the same position. Someone on the boards recommeded it to me and it's been really helpful for all my basic planting planning. I try to do companion planting when possible, and interplanting when I have extra room or feel the need to experiment. Good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:55AM
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