Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture. It includes multi-cropping, intercropping, companion planting, beneficial weeds, and alley cropping. At the 40 acre woods we like to grow many crops together. A careful look at natural systems reveals the magic of plants working together stay healthy and improve the environment.
Polyculture has several advantages over monoculture:
The diversity of crops avoids the susceptibility of monocultures to disease. Plants grow healthier in a polyculture. We are only beginning to understand how bacteria and fungus in the soil work with the plants making them stronger and more nutrient dense.
The greater variety of crops provides habitat for more species, increasing local biodiversity. It can function as a biological pest control program. Pest cannot target specific crops if they are spread out many other crops.
Polyculture is one of the principles of permaculture and how things are done at the 40 acre woods.