For example, in monoculture farming, corn will only grow with corn crops, and tomato with only tomato crop. In polyculture farming, if you grow cabbage, beans, and lettuce together, the beans help in replenishing the nitrogen in the soil that gets drained out from other plants. When lettuce and cabbage are fully grown, they harvest off the leaves of any individual plant that gives more room for other plants to grow. It has some of its own added benefits than monoculture farming, in which only one type of crop is grown. However, with advantages come the disadvantages too.
► It reduces the number of pests, weeds, and disease outbreaks because of increased variety of plants. Studies in China show that planting different varieties of rice in the same field increased the yield by 89% because of a drastic decrease in the number of diseases.
► Different shapes and sizes of the plant roots make good and full use of the soil and increase the soil fertility as compared to that in a monoculture field.
► Natural resources can be used more efficiently. Water and electricity can be used more effectively, which results in a better yield. Animal wastes can be used as fertilizers and manure for crops. The cattle or other farm animals can be used to reduce weeds by feeding on them. All this helps in saving money and time, and also reduces greenhouse gases.
► Polyculture farming results in a more stable and consistent income for the farmers as they don't have to depend on just one type of production. Having more and varied types of production will act as a cushion during the impact of low production days or low prices.
► The plants that grow near to other plants have a greater and stronger immunity, and fight off the bacteria faster than the plants in monoculture fields.
► The farmers have to be more and more knowledgeable about their plants if they are planting diverse crops. This also includes the planning of polyculture well in advance, which can be really time-consuming.
► Planning and planting a polyculture garden or a field can be a laborious task.
► Polyculture farming might result in higher investment in specific equipment initially to cater to the needs to every plant species. It will need greater infrastructure to get the work done on a land for polyculture farming.