Maximizing gardening space with Interplanting

The idea of interplanting may be the best-kept secret of gardening. Are you already practicing this technique just unaware?

 In my opinion interplanting is one of the two best ways of maximizing your garden space; vertical gardening, interplanting.  This growing technique combines many different concepts or principles of gardening: companion planting, intensive planting, and succession planting all in one.  Interplanting is planting the space between the rows of vegetables with a different crop, usually a companion plant, that will either before harvested before or after the main/neighboring crop.  See why I said you might already be practicing this technique?  You look for any unoccupied space in the garden, and you plant there.  This technique is simple.

While intreplanting the leaves of one plant tend to touch another.  That helps to create natural mulch, reducing weeds, cooling the soil, and retaining moisture.  Keep in mind that you are now planting the area more intensively. Therefore you will need to make sure you are irrigating and fertilizing accordingly.

Don’t think that you have to be gardening in wide raised beds or more spacious in-ground beds to practice this technique. Nope. Even if you have a container/pot, depending on the size, why limit yourself to growing only one thing?  There is a usable space there.  Why are we not planting?  When I planted some citrus trees in containers, I also added, interplanted with ground cover herbs like thyme and oregano.   

I believe gardeners should cultivate every plantable area.  Why would I not utilize the space?  This technique, interplanting,  helps achieve this.  Maybe this thought comes from the fact that I don’t have a massive gardening area, I am in an urban environment, in the middle of the city with limited space.  So I have to take advantage of every inch. 

There is not a lot of research behind this topic, so really it is up to you.  I use interplanting as a way to get a headstart on the next growing season.  During the summer in Houston, there are not many things that grow, but okra thrives.  The tall stature and broad leaves create a nice shaded area underneath the plant.  Here I will seed or transplant some fall crops.  Here they will be protected from the sun and the temperatures and will have time to establish roots before the fall comes around.  Practicing this technique, I am usually able to get another harvest because my crops will have had time to mature. 

I also use interplanting as a way to get a quick maturing crop grown and harvested before it is shaded out the main crop.  For example, you will hear people talk about the idea of planting radishes, which mature in as little as 30 days in between rows of freshly planted tomato transplants.  It will take well over 30 days for the tomato to reach its full maturity and begin bearing fruit during that time you would have been able to go from seed to harvest with the radishes.  Another way to make sure we are using every inch of the garden.

Try mixing varieties. 

·       Planting heavy feeders with legumes or anything else that helps rejuvenate the soil. 

·       Quick maturing crops that can handle the shade at the base of taller plants. 

·       Plant long season with short-season- peppers and spinach  

·       Sun lovers next to shade tolerant

If you are not sure what to try growing when interplanting?  Take a look at the articles about companion planting and intensive planting.  

Older Post Newer Post

  • Rikard Krvaric on

    Your link for Intensive Planting on the bottom of the article, is no worky…

  • zShPfXenDwROFd on


  • hpQnPMrilWNkfX on


Leave a comment