Successful Intercropping strategy for the tropics


Here is a intercropping strategy that was highly success in Haiti this last grow season. Thanks to Ricardo Lopes for teaching it to us. :heart: Feel free to copy if you wish.

We love how the harvest came in multiple stages. It is specially fitting for those who live off the land and may have long dry seasons. The manioc is one of the last crops to harvest, but it can tolerate drought conditions for many weeks. No one is going hungry with this intercropping plan.

The poly-culture was truly protective against pests. For example we also added some cabbage in the rows (not in the design). A few meters away my farmer friend wanted to grow some more cabbage, mono-culture style. The cabbage in the intercropping section grew to maturity, untouched. The mono-culture cabbage was all eaten by some critters over the course of a couple nights.

It was a frustrating experience, but I can see it was valuable for my friend to see the difference.

Just in case those image files don’t upload, here is a link to my nonprofit’s facebook where I posted the same images:

Intercropping strategy for the tropics


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Excellent! Thanks for sharing that, Roger.

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Hi Roger, have a question about your post from a year or so ago. Have you continued to use it, has it continued to be successful? Any new lessons learned?

Also, I’ve learned in the States that corn likes to be in close spaced rows (so it’s in a block, rather than a long line). Did all the corn pollinate properly in this system, giving full ears on every plant?

Thank you!

Hi Mike,

Those are all good questions. I only used that the one time, since then I’ve been focused more on the tree part of the agroforestry system, where I did this. Why? I’m operating on a low budget. I don’t own any farmland, but just find farmers who allow me to cultivate the syntropic system that I’m adapting to Haiti. If I want to influence the veggie production, I have to pay for that and it wasn’t sustainable.

This is something I want to work on more though. Different veggie intercropping plans. I just need some farmers willing to do something new, on their dime! :slight_smile:

As for the corn performance, it did well. In this design I would change the inter-row spacing if needed. For example some species can go every 30cm, other 50cm, etc. But I am not qualified to mess with the row to row spacing confidently.

I saw this corn after it was dried and removed from the cob. We did get a good harvest, but I cannot comment on the pollination rates. My guess is we got plenty of corn from each plant. But in Haiti the ears often don’t develop fully. The tip is often missing kernels. That may have been the case here, but again I don’t know for sure.

About the pollination, I am supporting a bee keeping programs. The locals love it for the honey, and I love it because I know it will improve their farm yields!

Roger, thanks for your response.

If the ears don’t fill that single row could certainly be a reason! We usually grow them at least 4 rows abreast, usually more.

Best wishes on your endeavors!


Good point. I’ll keep that in mind when I get back to making veggie designs.