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Crop Rotation

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Crop Rotation

Post  AppleofGODseye on 3/29/2012, 1:58 pm

We know you are not supose to replant the same plant in the same spot every season, but we don't know what to follow the different plants with.

Is there someplace that tells us how to rotate the crops?

If we should put roots after leaf or leaf after root, etc.

Does it matter?

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Crop Rotation

Post  GloriaG on 3/29/2012, 4:56 pm

I know opinions vary on this, but I believe that the best crop rotation is to follow each crop with ones that consecutively use a different major soil nutrient so that the soil can have time to rest and regenerate before having to support the same crop needs again. i.e.

Always add your regular scoop of compost before you plant each crop. Then start with:

LEAF CROPS which use nitrogen such as - Lettuce, mesclun greens, herbs, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. follow them with:

FRUIT CROPS which use phosphorus such as - Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplant, etc. follow these with:

ROOT CROPS which use potassium such as - radish, carrots, turnips, beets, onions, leeks, etc. followed by:

LEGUMES which either don't require soil nitrogen or add small amounts of it back to the soil such as - Peas, beans, and potatoes (because they are not nitrogen users)

Then start over - that provides a rotation of four separate crops that all use different nutrients from the soil.

But keep in mind that the scoop of compost you add to the MM should have all the nutrients your plants need.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/29/2012, 5:31 pm

Thanks for asking this question, and the understandable list!

This is something I've puzzled over A LOT. Especially when you have permenant structures attached to your boxes for certain types of plants. It makes rotation thoughts more difficult.

I also appreciate the info that "fruits" means more than just obvious fruits like "berries." I'd never thought of it that way.

But then, you run into what to do with your perennial plants. For me, that's strawberries. They are rather like spider plants - one established with off shoot babies. And you get more production from established plants. So how do you rotate them?

I also puzzle over how to add phosphorus. It's the one thing I'm consistently low on. Since everything is pretty much planted now, I'm wondering if there is a liquid something I can add to feed but not disturb the plants.

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Crop Rotation

Post  GloriaG on 3/29/2012, 6:16 pm

Perennial plants don't need to be rotated -only amended with compost when you do your "spring-cleaning".

Phosphorus can be increased by adding Bonemeal.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  camprn on 3/29/2012, 6:21 pm

A very light sprinkling of wood ash would add a bit of phosphorus to the soil; Do not add too much as it will adjust the soil pH.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  littlejo on 3/30/2012, 9:59 am

For strawberries, mulch with pine straw, for they like high acidity as do tomatoes and potatoes.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/9/2012, 8:20 pm

I would LOVE to have pine mulch. It would add much needed acid to our soil. I can't find it at the stores...is the only left pet stores? I'm concerned it would be overpriced there.

Camp, does wood ash adjust pH to acid or alkaline? Not that I have any...

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  camprn on 4/9/2012, 9:24 pm

Wood Ash is said to 'sweeten the soil', makes it less acid. It also contains trace elements beneficial to growing plants.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  littlejo on 4/9/2012, 11:16 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:I would LOVE to have pine mulch. It would add much needed acid to our soil. I can't find it at the stores...is the only left pet stores? I'm concerned it would be overpriced there.
Camp, does wood ash adjust pH to acid or alkaline? NYou mightot that I have any...

You might try a farmers market or a store that sells feed. If they don't sell pine straw, they will know who does. Also check big box garden centers or places that sell mulch. Shouldn't be too expensive. Jo


Last edited by littlejo on 4/9/2012, 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : formatting gone wrong!)

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  GWN on 4/9/2012, 11:19 pm

I believe that it adds potassium to the soil.
Which some crops find beneficial, such as potatoes

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Crop Rotation cheat sheet

Post  Carleen on 4/9/2012, 11:26 pm

Penn State has a PDF of crop rotation; I found another great list at dannylipford.com

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Chopper on 4/10/2012, 12:52 am

@AppleofGODseye wrote:We know you are not supose to replant the same plant in the same spot every season, but we don't know what to follow the different plants with.

Is there someplace that tells us how to rotate the crops?

If we should put roots after leaf or leaf after root, etc.

Does it matter?

There are a lot of good answers here, but one of the advantages of this method is crop rotating takes care of itself, especially if you have a spring and/or fall garden. The one thing I watch out for the most is tomatoes and try to mix it up as far as where I plant them. So far it has been easy because I keep moving. LOL. But since you are replacing nutrients with compost each change of square, you needn't stress over it too much. You are not committing a whole 40 acres to one crop that is going to forever become a nematode scourge or anything like that.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Turan on 4/10/2012, 12:30 pm

@GloriaG wrote:I know opinions vary on this, but I believe that the best crop rotation is to follow each crop with ones that consecutively use a different major soil nutrient so that the soil can have time to rest and regenerate before having to support the same crop needs again. i.e.

Always add your regular scoop of compost before you plant each crop. Then start with:

LEAF CROPS which use nitrogen such as - Lettuce, mesclun greens, herbs, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. follow them with:

FRUIT CROPS which use phosphorus such as - Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplant, etc. follow these with:

ROOT CROPS which use potassium such as - radish, carrots, turnips, beets, onions, leeks, etc. followed by:

LEGUMES which either don't require soil nitrogen or add small amounts of it back to the soil such as - Peas, beans, and potatoes (because they are not nitrogen users)

Then start over - that provides a rotation of four separate crops that all use different nutrients from the soil.

But keep in mind that the scoop of compost you add to the MM should have all the nutrients your plants need.
I like this, has enough structure and logic.
I have just rolled by the seat of my pants, trying to never follow same with same. The first SFG book talks about that by doing things in squares you make it easy to follow one planting with something different and thus result in rotation happening though unplanned. I find htat works great with leafy greens and roots like beets and carrots but the trouble comes with peas and nightshade family(tomato, eggplant, peppers, potato) and unruly vines like winter squash. Those really do best in certain spots in hte garden.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/11/2012, 12:17 am

@Chopper wrote:There are a lot of good answers here, but one of the advantages of this method is crop rotating takes care of itself, especially if you have a spring and/or fall garden. The one thing I watch out for the most is tomatoes and try to mix it up as far as where I plant them. So far it has been easy because I keep moving. LOL. But since you are replacing nutrients with compost each change of square, you needn't stress over it too much. You are not committing a whole 40 acres to one crop that is going to forever become a nematode scourge or anything like that.
I googled the Penn State article, only to realize it can vary by crop, and by geographic area. Then I did a search for California. The first hit was Farmer Fred Rant, a site I found before regarding a different subject.

Chopper, you might find this interesting: http://farmerfredrant.blogspot.com/2010/08/its-crop-rotation-time-do-you-have-room.html. He has a pie chart for the rotation.

If you like scotch, one of his posts for Dec 2010 was a review of them all! HA!

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  quiltbea on 4/11/2012, 9:37 am

I try to keep my rotation as close to Eliot Coleman's plan as I can. He's a very successful Organic gardener. He, too, is a northeast gardener like me and also a respected garden book (Four-Season Harvest) author.

Sweet Corn (chop up the stalks and bury them in the soil), followed next time by:

Potatoes, next come

Peas (plant cover crop in fall, like oats, if you can), next come

Brassicas: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Turnip, Radishes, next

Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant, next

Cukes, Squash, Melons, Zucchini, Pumpkin, next

Root Crops and Salad Crops: Lettuce, Carrots, Parsnips, Onions, Garlic, Spinach, Swiss Chard, followed by

Beans,

Then start all over again.

With a SFG and different crops in each square, it means lots of planning ahead for the coming year, but its such fun for a winter project. If I don't put in a crop, I just skip to the next one on the list, like sweet corn to peas if no potatoes scheduled. It's not a strict plan but it means less depletion of soil needs for the next crop.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/13/2012, 12:13 am

Bea, how do you work it in with trellis vs no trellis plants?

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  quiltbea on 4/13/2012, 10:42 am

@Ava.......Those north rows get changed only every year, from tomatoes to cukes or peas or beans and then switched the 2nd year. I just try to enrich them with a bit more compost than usual.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/13/2012, 6:13 pm

Cool. I'll rotate my squares accordingly!

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Turan on 4/13/2012, 10:25 pm

@quiltbea wrote:@Ava.......Those north rows get changed only every year, from tomatoes to cukes or peas or beans and then switched the 2nd year. I just try to enrich them with a bit more compost than usual.

That is the routine I worked out in my greenhouse. Tomatoes, then cukes and then basil and yardlong beans. More correctly, that is my intent and let us see how this third year of it goes. I fear I am rotating the tomatoes too fast though, so I really push the compost.

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What to plant after the current harvest

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/6/2012, 10:24 pm

Is there someone somewhere that could give me suggestions on what to plant after harvesting the current square(s). I have a companion planting chart which helps some for what to plant at the same time. I know some plants leave certain nutrients that the next plant would love to use. Also, I am thinking that there are some plants that you should never plant after others. That thinking, or any of this, may be wrong however and I won't be offended if someone tells me I am wrong and people do it nicely here!

I have nine 4 x 6s in rows of threes (three beds per row) for crop rotation. Am I over thinking or confusing myself? With crop rotation you don't plant the same crop in the same place more often than three years. Well if I am planting a second crop for that year, do I plant the same thing (which doesn't seem right) so it rotates every three years or something else so it is rotating every third planting or more?

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/6/2012, 11:06 pm

I was looking for this thread and couldn't find it and Rooster knew where to put me so here I am! It looks like my questions have been answered. I just need to read this thread.

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  Turan on 7/6/2012, 11:16 pm

Your question about rotations with in the year is not quite answered though and is very good, especially if one gardened year round. Our winter break makes such a clear marker. But I think the answer is that it is most important to not follow nightshade family in succession no matter what. But beyond that it seems to work ok to succession plant with in the season the same thing in the same place. I do try to go from leafy greens to roots and vice versa. Maybe some one can tell us if there is a problem with following spring broccoli with fall broccoli?

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/6/2012, 11:32 pm

There are lots of topics on crop rotation here in the forum. Don't forget about the search feature located just below the latest topics list.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/search?search_keywords=crop+rotation&typerecherche=interne&show_results=topics

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/7/2012, 11:25 am

Here's another great thread on rotation:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9742-crop-rotation-involving-nightshades?highlight=crop+rotation

Lol, I'm still a lazy gardener and still subscribe to Mel's method of crop rotation as laid out in the ANSFG book on page 144. I swear this book was written just for me Razz

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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  yolos on 7/8/2012, 2:29 am

I don't know about other parts of the county, but here in Georgia we get a lot of diseases on our vegetables. This year, even with new raised beds, new MM, growing my own tomatoes and cucumbers from seeds, and no overhead watering, I have had diseases on my tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes. affraid I even planted the cucumbers in two different spots in my yard and both areas have diseased cucumber vines. I have looked online to try to identify the diseases but haven't been able to figure it out yet. Guess I will have to make another trip to my county extension office.
Here is a good site for crop rotation.
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/McNabRotations.htm

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Re: Crop Rotation

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