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Crop Rotation... 3 or 4?

 
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cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 4:58 pm    Post subject: Crop Rotation... 3 or 4?  Reply with quote    

I've been diviging up my allotment plot into four areas; three rotation beds, and a fourth area for soft fruit, a little pond and some raised beds (eventually). That area is down by the shed, away from the path.

Now, I'm familiar with three patch rotation (roots, brassicas, others) and I kind of do that in our little garden (with some variation; I mix it up a bit to fit things in where they'll go). But flicking through books I've found assorted suggestions for four beds (spuds, roots, legumes, brassicas).

To be honest, I think that anywhere on the plot should be more or less OK this year for most things. But what's the best rotation pattern; three or four?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44104
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd always go for the longest rotation possible, if you've got the space go for 4

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Four... Okay... I'm used to three. So would spuds, other roots, brassicas and legumes (plus onions, letuce, sweetcorn and other stuff in that patch) be the four?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44104
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sounds good to me.

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I've got eight beds in my rotation, and I still can't get it right. Wherever I look there are brassicas!

Guest






PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judith wrote:
I've got eight beds in my rotation, and I still can't get it right. Wherever I look there are brassicas!


Eight beds? How?

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14947
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 05 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I plan to go for 5 in my bigger garden if I get it. Its more a question of balancing out amounts of what I want to grow rather than any gardening principles though - onions, roots, legumes, brassicas and potatoes/tomatoes. Miscellaneous like sweetcorn, squash and salads go in with the brassicas, as thats what I like least and therefore grow least of.

In my current hankerchief I'm going for 3 - spuds and toms, squash and misc (sweetcorn and stuff) and legumes, but again its fitting in what i want to grow, rather than proper gardening.

Does anyone else have difficulty balancing rotations (ie not wanting to devote similar areas of ground to the main groups?)

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 19009
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 05 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

MOnty Don recomended 4 in the order of

Manure
Potatoes
Beans
Barassicas
Roots
Manure

The idea being that potatoes are a hungry crop and take a lot out of the soil so you give it a boost in the autumn befor planting. The beans put in nitrogen that the following brassicas enjoy and the roots bulk up rather than put on top growth before manuring again.

But in a perfect world you've got loads of space fopr this. With limited space I've found that I need to follow the new potatoes with winter brassicas and leeks while the rest of the plot is doing the summer beans, sweetcorn, salads etc.

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 05 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Anonymous wrote:
Judith wrote:
I've got eight beds in my rotation, and I still can't get it right. Wherever I look there are brassicas!


Eight beds? How?


Rather chaotically. Probably not the best person to give advice on this topic!
It goes something like - not necessarily in this order - 1) onions, 2) early brassicas, 3) spuds, 4) roots, 5) more assorted alliums + other stuff, 6) big hungry stuff like globe artichokes, curcubits and the like, 7) legumes, 8. late brassicas. With flowers and other girly things packed in the gaps.

It sort of works for me

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 05 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Behemoth wrote:
MOnty Don recomended 4 in the order of

Manure
Potatoes
Beans
Barassicas
Roots
Manure


Makes a lot of sense. Where do other veg like courgettes fit in with this? In with the spuds?

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 05 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judith wrote:

Rather chaotically. Probably not the best person to give advice on this topic!
It goes something like - not necessarily in this order - 1) onions, 2) early brassicas, 3) spuds, 4) roots, 5) more assorted alliums + other stuff, 6) big hungry stuff like globe artichokes, curcubits and the like, 7) legumes, 8. late brassicas. With flowers and other girly things packed in the gaps.

It sort of works for me


Sounds workable but awfully complicated

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 05 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cab wrote:
Makes a lot of sense. Where do other veg like courgettes fit in with this? In with the spuds?


I have these conceptual problems all the time. With MD's system, where do the alliums go - with the roots? Surely not. And should swedes go with the roots or brassicas? Should mizuna and radishes go in the "other" bed with the salads or with the brassicas?
And if you decide to follow the new potatoes with outdoor cucumbers, for example, what do you do if there is a lousy spring/early summer and the ground isn't ready in time. Well, if you are me, you bung them in wherever there is a space and then, before you know it, you have an 8-bed rotation!

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 19009
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 05 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cab wrote:


Makes a lot of sense. Where do other veg like courgettes fit in with this? In with the spuds?


Not quite sure I think Monty has space for beds of other stuff which he rotates around. Us mere mortals have a gro-bag out the back. Probably tells you in his book.

Space to grow and space to store are my greatest limiting factors, rotation has to fit around them.

gavin



Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Leeds, W Yorks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

From Gardeners' Question Time - Factsheet for 12 August 2001 - http://www.keirg.freeserve.co.uk/diary/tech/rot5.htm.

Five years ! The key that unlocked the mysteries for me was getting to grips with plant families and their idiosyncratic preferences.

And realising that there were were quite a few friendly, undemanding little sods that don't mind where they go in any plan as long as they are sown! Squash family, beetroot/spinach/chard, lettuce, sweetcorn, and in most plots (?) peas and beans. These can be popped in any bed where you don't much like the "rotation-crop".

But it does depend so much on what you want to eat, and the space you have. Make sure the potatoes rotate, and are followed by lime (if it's needed); and that the brassicas are all together and rotate? The rest will more or less follow?

All best - Gavin

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cheers Gavin. My three year plan doesn't look so bad. I'm aiming for four, I think I'll end up with three ish

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