Grow More In The Same Space: Intercropping Lettuce With Garlic
Anyone can grow lettuce or garlic, but intercropping lettuce with garlic is definitely a ninja level gardening skill.
Intercropping Lettuce With Garlic
Lettuce is one of those veggies that can be tucked in and around so many other plants. Intercropping a quick-growing crop like lettuce with other plants that take longer to mature is one way to maximize growing space.
In fact, I’m currently regretting the fact that I devoted one entire raised bed in my kitchen garden to lettuce. Instead, that lettuce could be growing between more slow-growing plants like garlic, potatoes, squash, carrots, onions, etc.
In my garden zone 7a, we plant garlic in the fall. It rests in the ground over the winter and then really takes off in late winter and early spring, sending up green shoots as the soil temperature warms.
This spring, I sowed lettuce seed between several rows of garlic, just to see how it would work. I’m very pleased with the results! Intercropping lettuce with garlic is definitely a practice I plan to continue in my gardens.
This is space that would have gone unused while my garlic develops, but now that space is working even harder by growing two crops at once. I love that! And I can’t wait to experiment with more ways to double up on two crops growing in one space.
Benefits of intercropping
Intercropping offers multiple benefits to the home gardener:
- increased yield: grow more in less space
- weed control: veggies like lettuce help to block out weeds around slower growing plants
- pest management: intercropping increases biodiversity in the garden, which can help to confuse harmful insects
The keys to intercropping lettuce with garlic or other garden veggies is to pair quick-growing, shallow-rooted plants with more slow-growing, deeply-rooted plants. That’s why lettuce grows well with garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash.
There may be other good intercropping combos for lettuce, so feel free to experiment!
I also love to pair radishes with carrots. Radishes grow fast and are harvested when the carrots are still relatively small. After the radishes are gone, the carrots grow to fill in the space.
It’s just another way to grow more in less space!
Have you tried intercropping in your garden?
More ninja level gardening skills:
- How to Pinch Pepper Plants (& Why)
- Are You Planting Tomatoes the Right Way?
- 5 Secrets for Growing Better Carrots
- How to Prune Basil for the Best Flavor
- 11 Ways to Use Swiss Chard
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