Multilayer Cropping

A simple but yet effective technique in resource-poor settings is the use of multilayer cropping. In Bangladesh where land is a scarce resource the use of horizontal spaces for cropping represents a viable option to fully utilize the small homestead plots to which the project participants have access. Seeds of vegetables such as bottle gourd, pumpkin, ash gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd and dolichos bean are sown in small pits filled with well rotten organic manure and soil mixture to facilitate the germination of seeds. After the seeds have sprouted, weak seeds are removed. The grown up seedlings are staked to allow their normal branching over home-made trellis. The trellies allow the area underneath to be planted.

Using this method, farmers produce vegetables (like bottle gourd in trelly, below this bhendi, chilli , turmeric, ginger and then amaranthus, spinach) under creeper vegetables during their early growth period and plant shade loving crops like turmeric and ginger. Seeds of creeping plants such as dioscoria or dolichos bean are generally sown in underneath other mature plants/ trees which facilitate the growing of the sapling  on those trees as supportive stake. Integrated pest methods are applied in various forms.

To improve the productivity and soil nutrition for plant intake, liquid farmyard manure (cowdung : legume leaf/twig : water - 5kg : 5kg : 100 liter), leaf based liquid manure (weed biomass : cowdung : garden soil : water – 30kg : 30kg : 1kg : 100 liter) or compost can be applied. In homestead gardens, multilayer cropping should be practiced with some principles, for example- legume crops should be mixed with non-legume crops, deep rooted crops (garden pea, dolichos bean, cucurbits) should be mixed with shallow rooted crops (onion, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower), root crops (elephant foot yam, arum, sweet potato) should be mixed with leafy vegetables (amaranthus, ipomoea), growing of tree crops at the boundary (drumstick, subabul as feed for cattle, goat etc.).