Inter planting is something we have always done for a few reasons here at Star Light. Starting too much of this, not having enough space for that, experiments to increase biology and diversity all of these are reasons we have done it. Two major reasons we inter plant now are the paper pot transplanter and the value of getting more than one crop out of a given growing space. By taking advantage of the harvest times and growth rates of plants we can harvest something like a radish before another crop has reached it’s full maturity. An excellent example of this came with an inter planted paper pot tray of marigolds and watermelon radish. Our goal with the marigolds is too create diversity and hopefully pest deterrence within our kale plantings while also having flowers to harvest. As it turns out a great method for transplanting the marigolds is with the paper pot transplanter. There is only one problem though. The longest paper pot chain spacing is 6 inches. Marigolds would be best planted around a foot and we would hate to only plant half the paper tray seeing there is a rising cost associated with them. This is where some clever ideas (not originally of our own) about inter planting come in. Watermelon radish seeds alternating with the marigolds made for a excellent crop harvested a few weeks ago leaving room for the flowers to thrive. Not to say that all of our trials are successful the late 2020 spinach and turnip inter seeding left much to be desired , with a similar 2021 trial doing arguably better. Undaunted by our failures and inspired by our successes we continue to experiment for more good food, overall diversity and certainly a bit of farmer fun.
Overall biodiversity is certainly important and something that takes time. Occasionally a little boost is needed. Aphids will be around to one degree or another every year. The parasitic flies which prey upon them also are always around, leaving a mummified aphid as their calling card. Some years the pest pressure can be too much and biodiversity needs some encouragement. Releasing two batches of said flies both at SLG and SLGNW, will hopefully help to tip the scales in our favor. In more crop focused farm news things are really starting to show that summer is barely a week away. With cukes and squash showing up, the pea plants which looked a bit desperate in May now only remind us how much work harvesting we will have soon enough. The heads of lettuce this spring have been epic, we should hopelfuly have them for the next few weeks. The beautiful colors that the flowers grace us with are beginning to dot the landscape. What else is to be said, we’re smiling like a happy farm dog in the field.
Have a great week
For those doing some gardening check out some tomato pruning tips here https://starlightgardensct.com/tomato-pruning-refresher/