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Companion plants for: potatoes, tomatoes, wheat, peas, rice and amaranth

 
Paulo Bessa
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Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Hello,

I am trying to design the crop layout for next year, based in polycultures. Some are obvious such as the 3 sisters and interplanting of carrots with onions.

But what I plant with potatoes? Preferebly some edible annual and tall plant that does not compete for nutrients. Could be amaranth, quinoa or sunflowers? Or perhaps toss some type of beans into the potato patch?

Alternatively I though of growing some small climber through the amaranth or quinoa. Perhaps sweet peas, but they seem contradictory, because peas grow better in cold weather, while amaranth in warm (most other beans are probably too agressive climbers for the amaranth)

Some other crops I need companions are:
Sweet potatoes: again, some tall plant, preferably annual is preferred. Sunflowers come again to my mind, as well as sesame (basic oil crops).
Rice: no idea, but it must be a wet tolerating crop, that also does not use much water so that the soil can be still humid for the rice
Tomatoes: no idea for a companion. There is the obvious basil or other herbs, but I look for a more edible companion. Perhaps the sweet potato could be used as a companion, since it does not required much water or fertilization.
Wheat: again no companion for most cereal fields, but I could imagine peanuts as a companion for grains.

Has anyone experimented with any sort of good companions for these crops?

I look for crops that are mostly annuals and staple foods.




 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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for potatoes, search this site for the potato beetle and squash beetle threads. there are companions to keep em pest free, and i think some of them were still edible. There was also the point of planting a couple sacrificial ones, scuffing the beds soil with shallow hoeing to make em hatch, then pulling those potatoes when the beetles did show up, to starve em, then planting in the main crop.

sweet potatoes should do well with tomatoes, the root structures are totally different, as are the fruiting times. You may want to look up the beneficial bacteria for tomatoes, and planting deep wood right below them, with some extra fungi to keep aphids and ants down may really help the yield. But if you get rid of ants, you may get more catapillars, so make sure you dont cut off birds access to the stalks.
Thin out side stalks, and put in strong enough cages to encourage birds right inside the plants themselves.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Posts: 340
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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I have been searching the web and basically its possible to include the tomatoes and amaranth together with the 3 sisters mix. Even the potatoes themselves as a ground cover, but I guess the sweet potato is a more common addition.

Bush beans and sweet potatoes.

Now for the wheat and (upland) rice I have no idea of how to develop a polyculture. I guess I can try to add sweet peas or even bush beans and peanuts to the wheat, depending if we grow winter wheat or summer wheat.

But for the rice I haven't found a combination for polyculture yet. Often it is mixed with corn (which also likes humidity) but I am looking to add also a legume. Fukuoka was growing the wheat or rice, followed by a legume, but I want to grow both at same time as polycrops.

Anyone knows of a edible legume for wet soils, to grow together with the rice and corn?
 
John Polk
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I don't know if it is applicable to Portugal/Iceland, but here in the U.S., potatoes are commonly attacked by Colorado potato beetle. Bush beans will repel them, and, coincidentally, potatoes repel Mexican bean beetles. So here in the US, it makes perfect sense to plant them together.

 
Paulo Bessa
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Posts: 340
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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I have now decided in some possible polyculture combinations. I am posting in a new thread entitled "Possible ideas for polycultures (mostly with grains and pulses)"
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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if your growing season is long enough i'm sure you could do taro/dasheen or maybe cannas with the rice. for the potato, what about a bush bean? i have cowpeas here that i got from the grocery store and planted.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Posts: 340
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Hello Chrisy!

Thank for your suggestion!

Indeed taro and cannas are perfect companions for a patch of rice, and maybe maize. Our growing season in Portugal is between late March and October (about six months).

For the potato, I was thinking also of bush beans, and also quinoa, which grows very tall and with deep tap roots, that probably do not compete with either the potatoes and the beans, and also provide long enough support for some climbing beans (except runner beans). The other advantage is that quinoa also tolerates some cold, so it can be planted early in March, as well as the potatoes.

I have started a related discussion at http://www.permies.com/t/19257/permaculture/ideas-polycultures-grains-pulses where I designed a rotation system with 7 polyculture patches.
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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another thought, my sweet potatoes don't seem to like to climb, they seem to like to sprawl across the ground. a great groundcover and erosion preventer. maybe other varieties are better climbers. the sprawling ones could probably grow well with any other plants that don't have choking root systems. mine also seem to do well in part shade, like a good groundcover should.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Posts: 340
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Yes, my sweet potatoes also crawl rather than climb. They make a really good ground cover, probably a nice alternative to the squash or pumpkin in the 3 sisters. Toss some amaranth or quinoa to the corn, beans and sweet potatoes, and we have a really nice polyculture.


 
kadence blevins
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Location: SE Ohio
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here is a link i found that might help http://www.pioneerliving.net/companionplanting.htm

though i have books for most of my go-to's i really rely on.
 
Elisabeth Tea
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I've never grown sweet potatoes before. Is it only certain varieties that like to sprawl, or is it universal?

ETA appropriate punctuation
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Elisabeth Tea wrote:I've never grown sweet potatoes before? Is it only certain varieties that like to sprawl, or is it universal?

Universal. At every node it roots and if left long enough the root will become a edible tuber.
 
Judith Browning
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Elisabeth Tea wrote:I've never grown sweet potatoes before? Is it only certain varieties that like to sprawl, or is it universal?


Try doing a search for "sweet potato" here and you should get lots of information on varieties, propagation, etc. Lots of us grow them...a really versitile plant and a excellent staple food.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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tomatoes are supposed to grow well with asparagus, also you can add herbs along with the tomatoes, esp basil, which will give you your cooking companion flavor for the tomato right there while you are picking them and they will benefit both plants with pollinators..also onions can be put among these as well to give you a nice guild under a tree..mine are under a dwarf sour cherry
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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