Intercropping: The method of growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land (field) is called intercropping.
Intercrop in Banana
In this article, I will commence with the aid of advising that when you set up a banana plantation, do not leave the spaces in between the plants bare.
You can plant short term crops, annual crops, legumes such as beans, soya beans, and groundnuts or you can plant vegetables. This is what is referred to as intercropping and the crop you plant is referred to as an intercrop. These can be planted at the same time with the bananas or inside days.
Note the spacing’s
As you plant these crops, make sure the cover crop is not too close to the planting hole where tissue tradition banana seedling is.
If you want to have longer-term intercrops, such as espresso or pineapples, these can be planted either earlier than or after the planting of the tissue culture garden. Whereas it is satisfactory to intercrop bananas with a perennial crop such as espresso or pineapples or cocoa, in case you favor to do this, the spacing will need to be increased hence from the popular (2.5m-3m).
The spacing needs to be accelerated from 3m to between 3.5m-4.5m to allow extra mild penetration to reach the perennial intercrop (say coffee, cocoa, or pineapples) when they have established. If the distance between specific stools is too small or standard (2.5m-3m), when the bananas grow, their leaves will coloration off the intercrop and it will suffer from lack of sufficient light to manufacture its very own food and to develop wholesomely and supply proper yield
Read also: Intercropping with Coconut
In case your prime attention is bananas, it is really helpful that you intercrop with only short term crops, and this can be carried out for two seasons, after which the banana canopy (leaves) will have closed up. After the first year, your efforts need to shift to mulching the plantation for better soil nutrition and health.
Mulching has countless purposes: controls weed growth, protects the soil in opposition to heavy rainfall and intensive sunshine, prevents erosion in plantations on steep slopes, affords natural count number to the soil, stimulates root development, improves soil drainage, cools the soil, will increase soil porosity (water and air penetration), and supports an abundance of recommended soil organisms such as earthworms and some useful fungi and bacteria, thereby enhancing standard soil health.
Bananas are heavy feeders and need lot soil nutrients and water if they are to yield well. Thus mulching helps make contributions to providing these soil nutrient and water requirements.
Also, you can develop grasses such as elephant grass, Guatemala grass, and Guinea grass for your own mulch. The grass can each feed your animals as nicely as furnish mulch for your plantation.
Read also: Benefits of Mulching Film
Not too close
Irrespective of the good roles of mulching, it is recognized to facilitate the multiplication of pests and the spread of some soil born ailments of bananas. It additionally encourages roots to grow upwards from the soil, resulting in hanging mats, which in the end can topple specifically during stormy rains.
The phenomenon of banana flora becoming shallow-rooted, and striking near the surface of the floor is known as ‘high mats’. The second it units in, that marks the quit of your enterprise as weevils will attack it too.
A younger tissue lifestyle seedling desires mulch around it, however, a hooked up banana mat does not, as its roots are already properly established. Thus, always preserve the mulch, and manure application away from the banana mat by using about 2-3ft. The roots of the banana are long and can search for nutrients from a distance, as a result, do not worry that your plants will now not get the nutrients.
Read also: Advantages and Disadvantages of Tissue Culture Technique in Banana
Best Intercrop with Banana
Cassava/plantain combination is one of the most efficient cropping systems. The total returns were highest in banana intercropped with bhindi (lady’s finger) followed by cluster bean lablab and the least in a pure crop of banana. This is one of the ideal crops to intercrop with banana.
Crops that can be intercropped with Banana
Intercrops can easily be raised in the banana plantation at the early stages of growth. Radish, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, chili, brinjal, colocasia, yam, Dioscorea, lady’s finger, marigold, tuberose, papaya, areca nut, coffee, Rubber are commonly used as the ideal crop to Intercrop with banana.