Thursday, 12 February 2009

are you ready for ...crop rotation

On Tuesday I mentioned crop rotation and I will now attempt to tackle it. The purpose of rotating your crops is to help prevent the build up of pests and diseases and to stop the soil getting robbed of the same minerals repeatedly. Traditionally the ground would be divided leaving one section fallow(that is with no vegetables growing on it) but nowadays land is at a premium and we want to use it all.

I am going to descibe a three year crop rotation scheme. Divide your plot into three sections and your plants into three groups. Each year, each group will be moved to the next section. I am going to set out below which group I put which plant in. You only need to pick up a few gardening books to see that there is not whole scale agreement on which plant falls into which group. Anyway that's one of the things I love about gardening - it doesn't pretend there's only one correct answer all the time. So I'm just going to put down what i've done on my allotment.

In Plot A I grew:-
Potatoes,carrots,beetroots,parsnips,garlic, onions,shallots, leeks,lettuce,tomatoes, courgettes, marrows,courgettes,marrows, pumpkins cucumbers,

Peas, french beans,runner,beans,broad beans,sweetcorn,swiss chard,lettuce,peppers

Cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kale,broccoli,calabrese.

Just goggle Crop rotation or look at any good vegetable gardening books for where other vegetables fit in.
So basically start off in year one ABC then move each section on one space=BCA then third year =CAB till following year go back to ABC. Hope that makes sense.
In a small garden it's not really practical to rotate stuff. You can get away with stuff in the same place usually for a couple of years- but I wouldn't risk it with tomatoes. Just put tomatoes in growbags or long tom pots so it doesn't matter where you place them. I know someone who grew potaoes in strong refuse bags. More socialising today so bit tired so will sign off.

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