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|Michael Plane and Joyce Wilkie are innovative small-scale commercial vegetable farmers at Gundaroo, 50 km/30 miles north of Canberra, Australia.|
Here is a variation on this that may be worth thinking about as you look at how you could apply this on your farm: In South America a common polycrop (several crops growing in the same space at the same time) is corn, soybeans and either squash or yams (sweet potato-type crops). These mixes have large areas of leaf that intercept most of the available sunlight. Their roots forage every skerrick of nutrient and moisture and as a result outcompete many weeds. So the problems are minimal and the advantages and the yields of corn, beans and squash or yams is high.Joyce says tomatoes can also be undersown with soybeans, clover or vetches. They can also have oats grown between the rows of tomatoes, but only if the oats are mown regularly. Then the oat slashings are thrown onto the base of the tomato rows to provide nutrients and a mulch.