Crop Rotation

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Crop Rotation

Post  Blossom on Sun May 18, 2008 8:33 pm

In addition to the soil benefits, as different crop types take only what they need leaving a residue for following crops, rotating crops also means you avoid diseases.

I currently run 6 beds, two small, two medium and two very large long beds. The longest one often get planted as if it were two beds and the two small ones will often contain the same type of planting. This is just my space management. Similar sized beds are probably more sensible but this is how it worked out for me. A new gardener could have their beds all the same size. I also have a separate berry plantation.

The Rotation
Rotation is a constant, but lets start off with Alliums - onions and garlic. They like to be limed well and a good liming should sweeten the soil for following crops without needing to add much more apart from side dressing where appropriate. A low nitrogen 1:2:2 garden fertiliser is also useful now but no manure.

The following year this bed is planted with Legumes - peas and beans which like a sweetened soil which they get after the onions. I do check the ph though if we've had a good rainfall and add a side dressing if needed. I also add a little sheep manure to this planting but not in big quantities as it can promote too much leaf and we want flowers.

Legumes are followed by Greens - leafy and flowering vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and so on. Judicious application of trace elements can be applied in this bed which I usually get from seaweed as a mulch and potash.

Greens are followed by root vegetables, which require no manure or heavy fertilising. ( Beets do like a bit of extra lime but only a bit). When I'm planting potatoes I do use quite a bit of sheep manure deep in the trench but only on potatoes as manure will cause forking in most other root vegetables.

Roots are followed by Curcubits - cucumbers, pumpkin, zucchini etc. These can be given some manure - I use cow poo but well rotted chicken can be used along with some potash.

The last planting is of Solanums; tomatoes, capsicums, chillies, eggplant and so on. After the tomatoes come out, lime, a rest, some 1:2:2 fertiliser, back to onions.

Because most plantings are seasonal, beds can generally be rested for a season, planted with green manure crops if you wish and composted. I currently have three empty beds. For example once the curcubits come out, the bed can be rested, green manured and built up with compost for several months before planting tomatoes in it.

So the sequence goes like this:
Alliums
Legumes
Leafs
Roots
Curcubits
Solanums
Alliums again.


Last edited by Blossom on Mon May 19, 2008 5:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  The Estate on Mon May 19, 2008 5:08 am

Great info there, but hard to do when I have only 1 bed No
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Fran on Mon May 19, 2008 8:23 am

You won't get away with it that easy Thee No

You can divide your bed in two and grow 2 vegetables eg lettuce and tomatoes. I do this through the heat of summer so I can concentrate the water in that one spot and give them a bit of shade relief. In this climate I was never up for more vegies that than through Christmas/ New Year because outside was the last place I wanted to be doing manual labour. Different for you though.

But - you can pop the leafy vegies that require lots of water near / behind / beside another plant you have to water regularly. Put the carrots in somewhere where you won't be digging about because they don't like to be disturbed - quiet please silent

Potatoes could go in a corner somewhere where you can pile up a mound and keep the manure up to them - and when you've dug them out stick up a tripod and use the space for peas.

Put the cabbages smack bang in the middle of the marigolds and stick in some smelly herbs like oregano for good measure - believe me the cabbage patch should smell Suspect the scourge of the white fly will come anyway but there's a small chance they might leave you some Very Happy Peas and beans can be propped against a fence where the neighbouring plants are partial to a bit of lime. Everyone's happy.

It's not about hard and fast rules - just that each vegetable takes what it wants from the soil and the same vegetable will draw the same nutrients from the same spot year after year. A change is as good as a holiday remember and ringing the changes will keep nutrients in the soil balanced and save you money on fertilizers.

Not that there's any guarantees - but then that's half the fun Very Happy
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  The Estate on Mon May 19, 2008 9:39 am

great ideas there Shocked , maybe this year put chilli plants underneath my weeping roses cheers
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Fran on Mon May 19, 2008 9:56 am

Guns n' Roses with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - way to go afro

You could do a lot with roses and chillies - this for instance Very Happy

www.flowerbar.com.au/images/wp/blue1.jpg
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  The Estate on Mon May 19, 2008 11:19 am

very clever Fran Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  siri on Mon May 19, 2008 11:25 am

I used to have a magazine with information by Peter Cundall, along those same lines Blossom. Used to refer to it yearly but it is long gone. I will save your info for future reference.
Thee - Peter used to rotate things from one end of the garden bed to the other. You start with your onions at one end, so you only lime say 1/2 or 1/3 of the bed, and next season the onions will be down the other end or in the middle. Divide it up and think of it as 3 veg beds in the one.
Cheers, Jan
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Raymondo on Mon May 19, 2008 4:44 pm

Thanks for that Blossom. Very useful. Duly copied and filed away for reference.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Fran on Tue May 20, 2008 5:35 am

This is my rotation system for a hot climate adapted from one I found in the GA magazine years and years ago I think. It's great if you like to grow a range of vegetables.

1st year - legumes such as peas and beans, followed by brassicas - cabbages which will thrive on the nitrogen they leave behind and can be grown through winter.
2nd year - leafy vegetables - lettuce etc
3rd year - root vegetables - carrots etc
4th year - sweet corn and cucurbits like zucchini. Pumpkins can go in too if you have the space.
5th year - tomatoes, capsicums - the acid lovers - then harvest and lime bed.
6th year - onions ( if possible ), spinach - the lime lovers. I've never grown these and usually left the bed fallow for the sun to solarize. When the kids were young they'd throw sunflower seeds in it for fun Smile

A 4 year rotation might be less trouble in which you can follow the tomatoes with peas or beans the first year, then with cucumbers, pumpkins the second year, sunflowers the third year and back to tomatoes.

Interesting isn't it - thanks for the thread Blossom sunny
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