September 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm #255748darlsMember
Hiya, me again sorry. :blush:
I am currently working on crop rotation with my wicking beds – there are 6 wicking beds and 2 non-wicking beds.
This is my first time doing it at a ‘large’ scale of vegie growing so I am a bit of newbie now.
I’ve just now encountered a problem – how does crop rotation really works when half of the crop only require shorter growing sessions than others?
I will set out what I’ve done and what I plan to do and you can tell me where I could do differently or change something, or whatever – anything would be good! My DH just goes ‘oh whatever you think best, dear, I dont know anything!’ – which is true! :dry:
The wicking beds -:
Plant in – Season 1 (March): Beetroots and ‘baby’ spinaches with a couple of flower seedlings. Season 2 (June): celery and lettuces. Season 3 (Sept): Tomatoes, marigold, chilli and capsicum. Season 4 (Dec): Green manure?
Harvested – Season 1 (March): spinach leaves. Season 2 (June): spinach leaves. Season 3 (Sept): beetroots, lettuce and spinach leaves. Season 4 (Dec): ? tomatoes, celery, lettuce, chilli, capsicum and spinach?
Plant in – Season 1 (March): Onion, leek, garlic, swedes and couple of flower seedlings. Season 2 (June): Nil. Season 3 (Sept): beetroots. Season 4 (Dec): Radish, Kohl rabi, cucumber, parnsip, lettuce, squash and zucchini?
Harvested – Season 1 (March): Nil). Season 2 (June): Nil. Season 3 (Sept): Swedes. Season 4 (Dec): onion, garlic and maybe leeks or extend leek to next March??
Plant in – Season 1 (March): potatoes and lettuce. Season 2 (June): Nil. Season 3 (Sept): onion, leek, garlic, shallots, kale, spring onion, coriander, flower and chard. Season 4 (Dec): green manure?
Harvested – Season 1 (March): Nil. Season 2 (June): lettuce. Season 3 (Sept): potatoes. Season 4 (Dec): ?
Plant in – Season 1 (March): Broccoli, swedes, red cabbage, sage. Season 2 (June): Nil. Season 3 (Sept): beans (climbing and dwarf), peas, snow peas, cucumber. Season 4 (Dec): melon and rosella?
Harvested – Season 1 (March): Nil. Season 2 (June): broccoli heads. Season 3 (Sept): Broccoli and swedes. Season 4 (Dec): ?
Plant in – Season 1 (March): Peas, snowpeas, swedes, broccoli. Season 2 (June): lettuce. Season 3 (Sept): corn, squash and beans. Season 4 (Dec): beetroots, carrot and silverbeet?
Harvested – Season 1 (March): Nil. Season 2 (June): Broccoli heads and peas. Season 3 (Sept): peas, snowpeas, lettuces, swedes, broccoli. Season 4 (Dec): ?
Plant in – Season 1 (March): Onion, leek, garlic. Season 2 (June): carrot and parsley. Season 3 (Sept): beetroots. Season 4 (Dec): ???
Harvested – Season 1 (March): Nil. Season 2 (June): Nil. Season 3 (Sept): carrot and parsley. Season 4 (Dec): ? onion, garlic, shallots and perhaps leek??.
The two non-wicking beds are full of potatoes atm – will be harvested this week as the green plants are chewed to stems. So I will put manure on and sow in green manure so I can plant more large-space needed vegies/fruits like watermelon and such.
The thing stumps me is how do I really rotate it for next year? I understand the concept of light & heavy feeders, legumes and green manure but it looks like I may have stuffed up the whole system somewhat that nothing seems to fit right over the year… :S
I have Peter Cundall’s rotation system but it seems that he’s more selective with types of vegies and it doesn’t seem to be done lot over the year – colder down there than here and the number of beds are smaller than mine…
So any suggestions?
Thanks! :hug:September 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm #508481FozzieMember
I was doing some research some time ago on crop rotations and couldn’t get my head around it. I ended up finding this pretty good article Sustainable Gardens.
Basically I try and make sure I follow: (copied from linked article)
1. Don’t follow one crop with another from the same family
2. Don’t follow one heavy feeder with another heavy feeder
3. Do plant a green manure crop at least once in every 4 season’s to replenish your soil.
Actually… rereading your post you said you understand this already.
Hopefully someone else will come in with some good advice! 🙂September 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm #508482porgeyMember
I am not sure how the absolute necessity of crop rotation arose but in my patch I only follow it with a few veggies.
I companion plant everything with a mixture of veggies from all different families so to rotate crops from different families would be virtually impossible without some cross over. By trying to create a natural organic balance, aka bio diversity, I find everything grows well season after season, year after year with very little disease and no apparent loss of yield or quality.
My main planting choice strategy is based on what veggies are good companions not what was planted there last season/year.
As some veggies can develop various diseases if grown in the same bed for to many consecutive years I not only companion plant but plant disease destroying species in the off season. Tomatoes are a great example and can be badly effected by various wilting diseases. To prevent a build of of these fairly specific tomato wilts I grow Marigolds from Autumn to late winter, which gives the garden nice colour, then chop all the tops off and the rotting roots deter the pathogen growth. Mustard is another crop which also helps in the Tomato bed but its not as colourful. This way I can keep my tomato bed and frames in the same spot.
I like the idea of green manures but surely all plants act as green manures if dug in at seasons end and allowed to compost down/act as worm food (in-situ cold composting/vermi composting is another idiosyncrasy of my veg garden). As I have many different types of veggies in each bed there is a good diversity to help feed the soil and soil life.
In no way am I disagreeing with Peter Cundall or the experience & writings of organic gardeners but nature has a great ability to create disease free, healthy food with high yields if bio diversity is allowed to freely and naturally develop. I think, but am not sure, that the requirement for crop rotation is a carry over from broad acre mono crop farming where bio diversity is actively discouraged. Dont wont to throw a spanner in the works but thats what I do in my patch. Cheers, porgey.September 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm #508483sue eMember
I remember Tino on GA said not to worry to much about it -just move things around regularly and keep the diversity happening and things should be ok. My gardens are such that i dont really have designated beds for various types of plants either so i just try to keepn things moving around and plant other bits and pieces in and around. so far has been ok!September 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm #508484darlsMember
Thanks to all who replied – much appreciated.
I will have to wing it somehow, eh? lol
It’s heating up so better train myself to get up at 5am from now on… :pinch:
Time to go and harvest potatoes – something is eating up all the leaves and the plants are wilting – not good (in the non-wicking beds).
Cheers! :hug:September 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm #508485weaverMember
Darls I rotate by crop type rather than by particular families etc. So one year I will have tomatoes then feed soil and mulch heavily over winter. The next year I will have leaf vegies which I keep going as long as I can, then root vegies and then legumes. I green manure on 5th cycle. I find that if I feed the soil really well with compost and mulch etc this works well. It is really things like tomatoes that need to be rotated due to disease but if you are building and feeding your soil you should be able to do whatever works for you. I am constantly filling holes in the garden left by harvesting and find it hasnt been a problem yet.September 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm #508486porgeyMember
I think with wicking beds it maybe wise to rotate crops as they are more of a “closed” gardening method where direct access to the wider soil structure is closed off by the water tray.September 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm #508487MatthewWilliamMember
Crop rotation is all about planting groups of similar vegetables together in a different part of the garden each year. It’s important to do this because different crops like different soil conditions.
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