Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crop Rotation Guide

I've been studying crop rotation ideas in various gardening books and have found that everyone has a different opinion about how to do this. At first, I was frustrated and overwhelmed at all of the options to choose from. However, I finally chose some ideas from a few of my favorite gardening book and put it all together and I think this crop rotation guide is clear to understand and very the very least, helpful for me. :)

Here is my crop rotation guide. I will divide my garden into four main parts (aside from two smaller areas for my perennials like asparagus and rhubarb) and then move the four parts clockwise to the next section in the following year. For example, after the first year, Group 1 will be moved to the area of the garden where Group 2 had been, Group 2 will move to Group 3's old location, etc. I hope this makes sense! Add a question to the comment section if you are confused...

Group 1: Brassicas and Tomatoes
**These are heavy feeders. Plant them together because the tomatoes’ scent keeps brassica pests at bay. Put lime in the beds in the winter and prepare with a good compost or well-rotted manure. Feed with nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the summer.

*Brussels sprouts
*Oriental leaves/salad greens
*Pak choi/bok choy
Group 2: Legumes, annual herbs and flowers
**These are content plants. Only add compost if your soil is poor. Peas and beans collect nitrogen and store it in their roots, so this nitrogen will be available for Group 1 in the following year. Plant herbs and/or flowers between your peas and beans, however, because they do not help each other very well.

*Broad/Fava beans
*French/String beans
*Runner/Flat pole beans
Group 4: Root Vegetables
**Most of these plants do not like a freshly manured ground, so grow them in the next
year in the Group 1 section. Only add compost
if your soil is extremely poor and do this right before planting or sowing. Celeriac and Leeks are the exception: they enjoy some additional fertilizer.

*Beets                                *Onions
*Carrots                             *Parsnips
*Celeriac                           *Rutabegas
*Chard                              *Lettuces
Group 3: Potatoes and the Cucumber Family
**These plants are heavy feeders, but unlike Group 1, this group needs a more balanced food intake. Four weeks before planting, work in compost or well-rotted manure. If any plants look needy in the summer, feed them with fish emulsion. These plants appreciate rows of annual herbs or flowers planted in between the rows to attract pollinating insects.

*Courgettes/Zucchini and Squashes
*Peppers and Chili Peppers
*Sweet Corn

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