For some time now, it has been known that some plants grow better alongside some others. This is called “companinon planting.”

The reason is that these “companions” do not have the same needs and do not compete. For example, the carrot grows in depth as the tomato grows high. The two plants thus occupy the space better.

In addition, some pests are hampered by the presence of an odor nearby. Like the white fly, for example, which does not like the smell of marygold. It is therefore judicious to plant them near the cultures that fear it.

If, in addition, the duration of cultivation is taken into account, and short cycle plants (salad, radish, etc.) are associated with others whose cycle is longer (cabbage, carrot), it is possible to optimize at best the space of our garden.

One of the oldest examples of companionship originated in North and Central America. It is the “Milpa”: it is the ancestral association of maize, climbing beans and squash. The corn serves as a support to the bean that climbs over it. Beans fix the nitrogen benefiting to corn growth. The squash covers the soil thus preserving moisture, which will improve yields of maize. In addition, maize and beans form an extremely nutritious basic food pair.

Nicknamed “the 3 sisters”, this beneficial association holds an important place in the Indian American mythology.

Milpa’s plot in Saint-Paul, Lesotho

Since 2017, The Ivory Foundation has been supporting deaf and hard of hearing youth in Lesotho. 5 students trained in agriculture have been placed on a new semi autonomous farm. Young people put their knowledge of agroecology into practice. This … Read More

Milpa culture

Now that the corn has grown and the squash is growing, it’s time to plant beans to their feet ! The principle of milpa is the optimization of space, by the association of three plants, which provide mutual benefits to … Read More

Summer vegetables at the Traversine

The garden of Traversine in Paris benefited from an exceptional sunshine. This first year of cultivation was a successful test for several crops: very prolific climbing beans, tomatoes, squash, salad, corn …

Milpa and biochar

2 cultivation plots of 14m long were set up to carry out 8 experiments on 24 squares of 50×50 x50cm deep. Experimentation of biochar on a plot of Milpa The milpa was chosen to experiment biochar, as it allows to … Read More

Experimentation around squash

At the Grand Potager, we sowed the same day, different cucurbits (squash), associated or not with the cultivation of milpa. We can notice after a few weeks, that the cucurbits growing next to the milpa grew faster than the others. … Read More

First flowers and fruits of the milpa

At the Grand Potager, we have the joy of observing the evolution of milpa (association of corn, squash and climbing beans, planted together). We can now see the formation of the first corn, as well as the first squash and … Read More

Experiments around the Milpa

Also known as the three sisters, milpa is an ancestral crop association of corn, climbing beans and squash. Corn serves as a stake for the beans that climbs over it. The beans fix the nitrogen beneficial to the growth of … Read More

Association of aromatic plants

The plants of the perfume, aromatic and medicinal plant garden, are associated in groups of 2 to 4 varieties. In the garden we can find castor, borage and sweet peas grown side by side.  

Experimenting Biochar & Milpa at La traversine

The Milpa also called “the three sisters”, holds an important place in the Amerindian mythology. We use it for biochar experimentation at La Traversine.   EnregistrerEnregistrer


Children from Roosboom showing their milpa plot, combining maize, squash and beans.