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Alley Cropping /ˈali krɒpiNG/

May 29th, 2019

Definition: Planting rows of widely spaced trees, allowing for enough space between each row (alleys) to plant additional crops. A method used to enhance soil fertility and reduce soil erosion caused by wind and water.

In the Forest Garden: Although timber and fruit trees are often used in alley cropping systems, Trees for the Future encourages Forest Garden farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to use fast-growing, multi-purpose agroforestry trees. These trees allow for greater soil stability, water availability, and soil fertility for the diverse trees and crops that are grown within the alleys. The trees must be pruned periodically during the growing season to prevent too much shade on the growing crops. The pruning also provides valuable biomass that can be used to provide nutrients to the Forest Garden.

Rose, a Kenyan Forest Garden Farmer, planted Pigeon Peas and used the alleyways to plant maize and beans. The Pigeon Peas fix nitrogen in the soil, plus Rose can harvest and sell the peas for profit.

Learn more about this common agroforestry technique in Module 8 of the Forest Garden Training Manual.


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