18. Dense planting

Cultivation on permanent beds enables denser planting. The spaces between rows, in a mechanised approach to agriculture, are dictated in part by the physiological needs of the plants, but also by the need to move between the rows (footpaths, wheel arches) and weeding (width of the implements). Working by hand on beds, we can densify crops, sometimes considerably. We thus remove the little “deserts” of bare soil between rows, an open door to leaching and weeds, and increase harvests. The system gains in efficiency and sustainability.

Like companion planting, dense planting introduces extra complexity and requires experience and much observation. What succeeds one year may fail the next because of bad weather. But we consider that dense planting is one of the major assets of micro-agriculture, a path that is really worth exploring.

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