Crop rotation / Planning your plot

 

At last the plot looks clean and you are on top of the worst of it. As you survey your efforts and enjoy a before work cuppa,  you are preparing yourself for the never ending story of garden life!

To continue: the perennial weeds are burnt (putting them in the compost doesn’t always destroy them) and cultivation practices over the years ahead mean that they  will not gain overall control again ( of course as soon as you disappear for too long their weed systems lurking deep in the soil and air borne seeds will continuously return and re-establish!)

Planning your plot involves the optimum use of the space that you have before you. And depends to a large degree on what it is you want from that space. If you want a variety of crops as opposed to just spuds every year then you need to use a method called crop rotation to prevent diseases building up in the same place and also managing the feed/fertiliser needs of certain types of crops ( See Manures, Composts and Fertilisers)

Having just the same crop on land over and over again brings with it problems of disease and nutritional loss (See Pests and Diseases and Weed Control)

Usually a three year rotation cycle is the traditional way of planning your garden. As I said above this is to manage the different demands of different groups of vegetable types and help to prevent the build up of diseases common to those types.

Divide your plot into three areas ( sections ) on your garden plan for the current year.

The crop in each section will change each year and move to a different position in subsequent years as the years proceed arriving back at the beginning in three years time and basically look like this:

YEAR ONE YEAR TWO YEAR THREE
Plot Section 1   Plot Section 1   Plot Section 1 
 Treatment: MANURE/COMPOST Treatment:  FERTILISER/LIME  Treatment: FERTILISER 
PEASBEANS

ONIONS

LEEKS

LETTUCESTOMATOES

SPINACH

CELERY

SUCCESSION CROP

CARROTS BEETS/CABBAGE

CABBAGESPROUTS

CAULIFLOWERS

KALES

BROCCOLISEED- BED

SUCCESSION CROP

ONIONS

POTATOESCARROTS

BEETROOT

PARSNIPS

SWEDES
SUCCESSION CROP

SPINACH/LETTUCE

  Plot Section 2    Plot Section 2   Plot Section 2
Treatment: FERTILISER/LIME   Treatment: FERTILISER  Treatment:  MANURE/COMPOST 
  CABBAGESSPROUTS

CAULIFLOWERS

KALESBROCCOLI

SEED-BED FOR GREENS
SUCCESSION CROPS

ONIONS

POTATOESCARROTS

BEETROOT

PARSNIPS

SWEDESSUCCESSION CROP

SPINACH/LETTUCE

 PEASBEANS

ONIONSLEEKS

LETTUCES

TOMATOES

SPINACH

CHARD

CELERY

SUCCESSION CROP

CARROTS

BEETS

CABBAGES

 Plot Section 3 Plot Section 3 Plot Section 3
 Treatment: FERTILISER  Treatment: MANURE/COMPOST  Treatment: FERTILISER/LIME
 POTATOESCARROTSBEETROOT

PARSNIPS

SWEDES

 

 

SUCCESSION CROPS

SPINACH/LETTUCE

PEASBEANS

ONIONS

LEEKSLETTUCES

TOMATOES

SPINACH

CELERY

SUCCESSION CROPS

CARROTS BEETROOT CABBAGES

CABBAGESSPROUTS

CAULIFLOWERS

KALES

BROCCOLISEED-BED FOR GREENS

SUCCESSION CROP

ONIONS

I said basically because these are the main divisions: Roots, Peas and beans, Brassicas, Potatoes,  Leeks/Onions, there are other vegetables that can be planted in between these cycles that are usually shorter growing periods and can fill in spaces; these are called succession crops such as lettuces tomatoes /spinach/carrots/ beets /cabbages for example.

Yes it can seem a bit confusing but remember the philosophy is to move plants to annually different positions to reduce diseases like club root in the cabbage family and where the root crops are they do not need manure that year because the  rotting material causes the roots to divide so they need a clean soil well rotted down from the year before which did suit other heavy feeders such as potatoes peas beans onions! As you become more comfortable with gardening you discover what works for your needs and adjust accordingly but keep the basics in mind!

Phew! More tea!

© 2012 Summer Street Allotment Association Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha
Royal Horticultural Society
National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardenersy