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Crop rotation

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Re: Crop rotation

Post  camprn on 4/27/2011, 1:55 pm

@quiltbea wrote:The basic idea of crop rotation is to plant something from another family.
The crop harvested has depleted all the energy from the soil that it needs for its growth.
You don't want to plant the same thing in the same place because its been depleted, yet a crop from a different family of plants can benefit because it uses other things from the soil.

Of course, adding a couple of scoops of compost to the space before you put in the new crop will probably deal with the problem adequately.
+1
Additionally, crop rotation also reduces the contraction and spread of plant diseases through soil.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  clfraser on 4/27/2011, 2:06 pm

Great tips! Thanks yall. One other question. I have one large bed that is 54 square feet (54 squares). Is it sufficient to just rotate things around the large bed and just not plant the same things in the same square again? I am planning on building a 2x8 or 2x10 bed for my tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers (possibly alternating winter squash and melon in there too.) This will allow me to plant those somewhere completely different. I may also be constructing something just for lettuces. However, can I just rotate everything else around my large bed?
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  quiltbea on 4/27/2011, 9:47 pm

Some folks don't bother with worrying about rotation. They feel if they are good about replenishing each year with rich compost, they don't have to worry.
But if you are one that wants to give rotation a try:

You can put the peppers and tomatoes together in one of those beds and the cucumbers in the other bed.
Next year reverse them; put the cucumbers in the tomato/pepper bed and the toms/peps where the cucumbers grew the year before.

Eggplant, peppers,tomatoes and potatoes should not follow each other the next year.

As for the large bed, if you just plant different crops in different blocks the next year you should be ok, assuming you enrich the blocks with a scoop or two (scoop or trowel) of compost before planting.

Some think that adding a handful of limestone to the hole before planting a brassica helps prevent clubroot, a deadly disease that kills the plants and can infect the soil the following year. I do that myself for a little added insurance. If its good enough for Bob Thomsen of TV's Victory Garden fame, its good enough for me.

The brassicas are broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. None of these should follow each other in the squares the next year because they are all the same family.

You can tuck leaf lettuce in beside other crops. By the time the main crop is big enough to need all the space, the leaf lettuce will have been harvested. Its a good way to save space.

You can try this: Use one square for lettuce. Scratch in a couple inches of potting soil. Sow seeds. When they start growing and need thinning, transplant them beneath the leaves of another crop. That way you only need one block for lettuce. Just keep reseeding the same block as you transplant the first lots elsewhere. Just scratch a couple of inches into the block each time you start more seeds.

I wish you great luck with your garden.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  clfraser on 4/27/2011, 10:06 pm

Thanks quiltbea for the great advice. I am planning away for my next planting and adjusting the current one. Very Helpful!
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Northside climbers?

Post  Mamachibi on 6/17/2011, 3:48 pm

Okay, I understand the basics of crop rotation and why it's important. But if climbers like tomatoes, peppers and cukes (three MAJOR components of my garden) are always supposed to go on the north, how does that work? I have four boxes and was planning to put tomatoes in two, peppers in one and cukes in one, all on the north side, trellised. The following year I can't use those north side spots again at all for these trellised plants. I can put beans in some, maybe a melon...

But to do rotation properly, I'd need what, 9 boxes?
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  pattipan on 6/17/2011, 3:56 pm

@Mamachibi wrote:Okay, I understand the basics of crop rotation and why it's important. But if climbers like tomatoes, peppers and cukes (three MAJOR components of my garden) are always supposed to go on the north, how does that work? I have four boxes and was planning to put tomatoes in two, peppers in one and cukes in one, all on the north side, trellised. The following year I can't use those north side spots again at all for these trellised plants. I can put beans in some, maybe a melon...

But to do rotation properly, I'd need what, 9 boxes?

I don't rotate the crops, I rotate the soil. See this post here:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7731-importance-of-crop-rotation#70171

pattipan
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  Mamachibi on 6/17/2011, 4:01 pm

Rotating the soil sounds like more than my back will permit. But I'll sure consider that approach! Thanks!
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  boffer on 6/17/2011, 6:18 pm

My trellised plants don't really have a home yet, as I'm still experimenting with different ideas to see what works bests for me.

One idea that I'm becoming partial to, is making a 1x4 box, with a bottom, and putting it on the north side of a 4x4 box that has a trellis on the north side. I'm finding that it's a cheaper, easier, and more versatile way to gain more growing space, and it gives me more options.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  ModernDayBetty on 6/17/2011, 7:18 pm

@Mamachibi wrote:Okay, I understand the basics of crop rotation and why it's important. But if climbers like tomatoes, peppers and cukes (three MAJOR components of my garden) are always supposed to go on the north, how does that work? I have four boxes and was planning to put tomatoes in two, peppers in one and cukes in one, all on the north side, trellised. The following year I can't use those north side spots again at all for these trellised plants. I can put beans in some, maybe a melon...

But to do rotation properly, I'd need what, 9 boxes?

I'm new but according to the ANSFG book, if you plant a fall crop/spring crop/summer crop that is rotation. So by time you are ready to plant your trellis veggies you have already rotated the crop twice.
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Re: Crop Rotation

Post  tabletopper on 6/17/2011, 8:00 pm

Boffer: In your experiment.....does the 4x4 with a 1x4 on the north side of trellis... tomatos lean to the trellis (south)....the area ends up ...4x5? sounds really great....more for crop rotation...
Ruth...

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Re: Crop rotation

Post  staf74 on 6/17/2011, 11:50 pm

To chime in a little. Some of the posts appear to suggest that planting next "year" is your concern. Lets remember that SFG is intensive gardening that uses a square for a different crop at least 3 times per "year." So if you do it right, in ALMOST all instances you are naturally rotating. Exceptions of course do exist but just be aware of the families of plants you are raising. For example, Potatoes and Tomatoes are of the same nightshade family and should not necessarily be planted in succession in the same square as you might do potatoes in the spring and toms in the summer in that same square. Although a recomposting may still address those concerns, proper planning out of your next 3 seasons for that growing "year" to avoid these issues will be your best tool for crop rotation. Keeps you warm and interested during the cold winter months (should your climate have a winter that is, then you are a lucky 4 season SFG'ner)
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  Barkie on 6/18/2011, 2:49 am

@camprn wrote:
@quiltbea wrote:The basic idea of crop rotation is to plant something from another family.
The crop harvested has depleted all the energy from the soil that it needs for its growth.
You don't want to plant the same thing in the same place because its been depleted, yet a crop from a different family of plants can benefit because it uses other things from the soil.

Of course, adding a couple of scoops of compost to the space before you put in the new crop will probably deal with the problem adequately.
+1
Additionally, crop rotation also reduces the contraction and spread of plant diseases through soil.

+1 and disrupt the life cycle of pests

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Re: Crop rotation

Post  Mamachibi on 6/18/2011, 9:27 am

Great! Thanks! I think I'm getting the idea! I was concerned that because our summers are so LONG (we hit 90 in April this year and had a week of 90's in October last year) we might not get in a spring or fall crop at all in my squares with tomatoes. Hm. Maybe I should look at a cover crop for those squares over the winter.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  boffer on 6/18/2011, 10:40 am

@tabletopper wrote:Boffer: In your experiment.....does the 4x4 with a 1x4 on the north side of trellis... tomatos lean to the trellis (south)....the area ends up ...4x5? sounds really great....more for crop rotation...
Ruth...

The cinder blocks are my 4x4 box here. Just imagine that the hoop house was made of the typical pvc pipes, instead of metal. I covered the hoops with chicken wire, but most anything could be used. You can see how the peas are reaching south for the sun. If they get much taller, gravity will start slowly pulling them down the other side.

When the pea harvest is done, the 1x4 box can be picked up and moved for other purposes.





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Re:Crop Rotation

Post  tabletopper on 6/18/2011, 4:41 pm

Great pics of your iron work.....for the hoops......Great crop of peas also....
I will use your idea of a additional movable 1x4 box for my tomatos....will start some young ones behind the tall tomatos that are not ripe yet....so I will have more coming along...maybe I will always have ripe tomatoes.....hopefully...I think in the winter will give them a plastic blanket.....
Will let you know the results.......
Ruth
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Long term crops

Post  littlejo on 6/18/2011, 9:31 pm

I understand reasons (bugs/disease) for crop rotation. Would a winter crop suffice or would tomatoes have to go in a different box?

Also, I'm curious, is there a reason I've missed that tomatoes go only on the North side?
Mine are on the South west side of my garden and are doing fine.

Jo
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  boffer on 6/18/2011, 10:02 pm

Tomatoes generally go on the north side on a trellis so they don't shade the other plants. But, some folks in hot climates intentionally try to shade their cool crops. It's a 'what works best in your climate' decision.

This is the fifth year I've filled up the same box with carrots. It's the sixth year growing corn in the same patch. I alternate boxes between beans and peas each year, but that probably doesn't accomplish anything except create a change of scenery! If I plant 8 squares of the same plant, I spread them out amongst boxes-a couple squares here, a couple squares there. I don't keep notes, and I don't make a big deal of rotating, so stuff does get grown in the same square several years in a row.

I think this works for me because I haven't had any disease issues or serious bug infestations. As long as I amend each square with 5 way compost when re-planting, things work just as Mel describes. In the garden, when there are several options to choose from, I always pick the one that involves the least amount of work!
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Rotating Crops

Post  DevinGoulding on 8/19/2011, 11:03 pm

I am in my first year of SFGing and have had three 5x3 beds this year. Next year I would like to add another 6x3 and really get the maximum amount of produce out of each square.

I have been searching for a good resource on how to plan out a Spring, Summer, and Fall/Winter crop for one square. Ex. - Broccoli, then Radishes, then Broccoli in one square.

Do people have links to resources or their own plan/ideas for this? I know I can't get three crops in EVERY square, but would like to get 2-3 in most.

Thanks!
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  shannon1 on 8/20/2011, 5:22 am

Devin,

What a great question. The answer I have for you is 3 fold. First about crop rotation. This is a way to minimize pests and desease in your plants by switching up the types of plants you pick to replant your squares, Here is a link http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/rotate-crops-in-your-vegetable-garden-for-healthier-plants.html

Next up, seccession planting we do this all the time in SFG. It just means to plant the square again after harvesting. Here is a link that gives some good advice about that http://growingideas.johnnyseeds.com/2008/06/succession-planting-guide.html A good thing to keep in mind is to start seeds in flats so you have seedlings to replant your squares when it is time. That is if it is a veg that you can transplant.

Last but not least, getting the most out of our small gardens. One way Mel has taught us is to grow up, by that I mean verticaly. By growing vineing crops like squash, melons, and tomatoes for example is to grow them on a trellis. You get a lot more bang for your buck that way. Another way is to do what's called intercroping. Some vegies grow much slower that others peppers for instance are slower than spring onions grown from sets. I plant spring onions around the edge of the pepper squares and by the time the pepper needs the space the onions have been harvested.

Sorry this is so long. I hope it is helpful.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/20/2011, 10:06 am

Welcome aboard, Devin.

I think the more you hang around, the more you will see the discussions change through the seasons. That has been my biggest teacher, personally. I have tried a couple of times to write transitional type topics, but they are difficult to pull off. They turn into seasonal threads.

The trick can be knowing/guessing when to pull plants and start others. But, your best bet is to use your quicker-to-harvest plants if you plan on getting three full harvests from each square. Carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, etc, that take a bit longer can yield two seasons very easily, but it's hard to get three because of the time the main crop takes.

Check in regularly, these topics will pop up from time to time. I also hope you get some better answers from our veterans. Being your first year, don't rush things. My first year was a huge learning experience for me. My second year was much better. I'm not assuming you did poorly. I'm saying.....wait till next year! You will be amazed at how much knowledge you pick up from the forum and consequently apply.

Good to have you here. I hope you become a regular visitor/poster.
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Crop Rotation

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 8/26/2011, 12:14 am

As if it's not already a challenge in planning for a Fall & Spring garden then there's crop rotation.

Some websites suggest to not plant the same vegetable family in the same area again for 3-4 years.

GEZ!!!!!!!!! (((3-4 years)) That could get complicating be even more of a challenge during the planning.

My question is...Are you guys doing the crop rotation? 1-2 years seems more realistic to me.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  Chopper on 8/26/2011, 12:23 am

Because of the nature of SFG and its specifics I would not worry one bit about crop rotation. I mean do you really think moving something over one square matters? The idea is not to let soil borne diseases build up in the soil plus avoiding things like nematodes.

If you did not have any problems with specific diseases that carry over from year to year I would not worry about it at all. And even then it is a small issue in an SFG compared to having 40 acres planted with one single crop. Having variety in our boxes effectively serves the purpose of rotating - not letting one single crop specific disease to run rampant.

As you can guess, I do not worry about it.

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Re: Crop rotation

Post  boffer on 8/26/2011, 12:26 am

@Chopper wrote:As you can guess, I do not worry about it.

Me either.
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  middlemamma on 8/26/2011, 12:28 am

Me 3...
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Re: Crop rotation

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 8/26/2011, 12:43 am

Great! Me 4 then! This is a relief b/c I was like dang, I'm going to need to create more MM beds in-order to fall suit-properly dealing w/crop rotation.

Another bonus for having a SFG. afro

Thanx guys...you've helped me lots. Very Happy
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Re: Crop rotation

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