Photo: lentil and barley with a poppy guest © Nicolas Carton
Intercropping, other than crop rotation, means planting and harvesting more than one plant at a time: onions go with strawberries, lentils need a pillar to climb on, such as barley, the famous three sisters of the maize, bean and pumpkin Milpa are another example and even permaculture is just highly diversified intercropping.
Legumes with their nitrogen fixing potential are ideal partners in many intercropping systems. Their diversity adds to the resilience of farming systems and reduces the need for external inputs on the field and in gardens. However, intercropping also comes with practical challenges and requires some deeper agroecological understanding in farming and horticulture.
The president of the Seed Association of Serbia, Prof. Dr. Svetlana Balesevic Tubic, with long experience in the field of legumes and Dr. Djura Karagic, expert in intercropping, presented and discussed beneficial effects of intercropping, practical results and motivation to adopt intercropping practices on the route to sustainable agriculture and gardening. Practical results of intercropping tests with farmers in Sweden and in Germany were presented by Nicolas Carton, who specialises in cereal-legume intercropping.