Author Topic: crop rotation  (Read 332 times)

Offline lottieguy

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crop rotation
« on: January 06, 2016, 09:53:28 AM »
Hi Ya, I follow a fairly basic rotation where possible as per Dr Hessayon's book. I have done this for years but recent reading has made me think who is right? I plant root crops i.e. spuds, carrots snips etc, followed by peas, beans etc, then brassica's. I read that peas and beans do not need humus, I have always manured the spuds and beans and have always believed cauli's are hungry feeders hence I follow my beans with them. Have I been getting wrong all this time? I wonder what every one else does? I know some on our site always grow onions and runners in the same pace every year. I do what suits me but am now thinking perhaps I should be doing it differently. Oh well each to their own. I for one am looking forward to the new season. My first lot of seed spuds has shown up (desiree) and I have only grown main's once which was last year and only one row but very good so here's hoping. Good luck to all and Happy Gardening

Offline wonky

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 11:41:00 AM »
There was a discussion on this topic back in April 2014 but unfortunately the topic title was misspelt. Look it up under the title Crop Roation! That is if you can get it past your spell checker!

Offline Big Gee

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 12:12:07 PM »
I don't think you've been getting it wrong lottieguy. Dr Dave Hessayon's crop rotation plan is pretty sound and is the basis of the page I wrote on the subject on my other site. See: http://aeronvale-allotments.org.uk/guide_new_gardeners.htm

However, whilst he lists potatoes under 'root' crops (and obviously they are), it is better to treat them as a seperate crop in the rotation. I believe he has made a mistake there. The reason I say this is that the traditional method for getting the best out of your potato crop is to ensure that they have a copious amount of manure added at the time of planting. This is something that you should never do with other root crops like carrots, parsnips etc. because it will cause problems with over rich Nitrogen content and manure material that will, in both cases, cause forking and other problems. So it's best not to treat spuds as a 'root' crop alongside the other root veg. Instead allocate your area so that the spuds are an addition to your rotation, in other words make it a four crop rotation with potatoes being the fourth. They can then be followed by the other root veg, then the 'others' (as Hessayon calls thyem) including legumes , then brassicas.

The important thing is to rotate, how you rotate is not that critical. The golden rules being:

Root crops - don't plant on freshly manured ground, but ground manured from an earlier crop
Potatoes - use manure in the rows at the time of planting (keep them WELL away from alkaline soil - that has been recently limed)
Brassicas - plenty of lime to ensure an alkaline medium. Nitrogen high soil is well suited to these leaf plants, so it can be a good idea to let them follow your legumes.
Legumes - a humus rich soil from a previous crop, slightly more alkaline. They will produce their own Nitrogen.
Others, including those in the allium family + salad crops etc. they can share the same area as your legumes.

It is not an exact science, as there are overlaps. Also you have to sometimes shuffle crops a little because you don't produce equal quantities of crops from each group.

The most important thing is, don't grow the same crop in the same spot eternally, it will cause huge problems in the long run. As for the rest it's pretty flexible, you don't need to panic because you've grown the same crop in the same spot two seasons on the run, however you should think about moving it by the third season. Growing certain crops within an area designated to another group is not a disaster either. nature is not as critical in these matters as we gardeners sometimes think!

I hope that helps!  ThU5:-)
 

Offline Westheathdave

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2016, 02:12:07 PM »
clap:-) I got to agree with you there Gee plants are fairly flexible in their needs. I tend to follow Dr. Hessayons plan except for the spuds.  ThU432:-)

Offline lottieguy

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 11:44:01 AM »
Hi Ya, That's where the confusion arose with me as I call spuds a root crop. I do tend to lump snips, carrot etc under root crops as well. I do put them in the same area but do not manure the carrots but feed the spuds as I think carrot prefer hungry ground as well. I do use spent growbag and seed compost to the carrot ground to make it more pliable and the compost the tommies have been in. So I will keep doing my thing and I try to rotate but some times I run out of room. I have it all planned for this season. Thanks for the input and I see now where I being confused. Happy gardening

Offline Big Gee

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 02:13:03 PM »
Hi Ya, That's where the confusion arose with me as I call spuds a root crop. I do tend to lump snips, carrot etc under root crops as well. I do put them in the same area but do not manure the carrots but feed the spuds as I think carrot prefer hungry ground as well. I do use spent growbag and seed compost to the carrot ground to make it more pliable and the compost the tommies have been in. So I will keep doing my thing and I try to rotate but some times I run out of room. I have it all planned for this season. Thanks for the input and I see now where I being confused. Happy gardening

I know it's a common one. I think ol' Doc Hessayon has caused a bit of a head scratch amongst many gardeners over the years by suggesting potatoes should form part of the 'root crop' group in a crop rotation. As I said in my earlier post, strictly speaking they are a root crop, but require conditions slightly different from your usual root crops like carrots, parsnips or beetroot etc.

I'm glad you've got it sorted lottieguy, and from what you've said about your own crop rotation I think you've got the rest spot-on. If it works well for you then why reinvent the wheel? Just nudge your spuds over from the root crop group in your rotation.

I've been veg. gardening for over forty years, and do you know what? I STILL have difficulty with room, and that's a problem because you don't grow the same quantity or require the same room for all crops. If life was perfect you'd need the same room for each group of plants in your rotation, however life ain't like that - unfortunately!

One thing you HAVE nailed - as all good veg. gardeners do - you've planned your plot for the coming season. That is the key, otherwise you stand there boiling your grey matter throughout the season wondering where to put things, it's amazing how many confused looks you see on the faces of those who don't plan  :-\

After all that's what winters are for to keep you indoors to plan your plot for the coming season and to write down your 'wish list' from the seed catalogues for the coming season!  CW ;-)
 

Offline wonky

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2016, 11:01:28 PM »
When I first got the plot I did a load of research, mainly on the Internet,  and came up with the following scheme based on 5 beds for crop rotation.

Year 1 - Potatoes and manure followed by mustard green manure and followed by lime
Year 2 - Peas and beans followed by more lime if required
Year 3 - Brassicas
Year 4 - Sweetcorn and squashes
Year 5 - Roots and onions followed by manure

3 beds are identical in size the other 2 are more flexible and can be up to about 50% bigger. I have also set the rotation so that crops always skip a bed so never even share adjacent ground in the following season.

So far it seems to be working quite well but I think I might be going wrong in one area in that I'm treating the likes of swedes and turnips as root crops when they are really brassicas but it seems to work ok. I've yet to use any green manure and have been liberally using well rotted horse muck virtually everywhere to try and get some organic matter into the ground.

Offline Big Gee

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2016, 11:37:36 PM »
That's the real key wonky - get the muck in, especially the stuff with lots of bedding in to add to the humus levels as it rots down. Successful vegetable growing is all about a 'living' soil that's full of humus, microbial life and lots of organisms like worms etc. The rest is just about managing it so that you don't grow the same crops continually on the same patch.

Swedes and turnips ARE brassicas - as you rightly say, and benefit from an alkaline soil. Mustard green manure is also from the same family (it is a genus of plants in the mustard family Brassicaceae). The members of the genus are informally known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plant. Crops from this genus are sometimes called cole crops—derived from the Latin caulis, denoting the stem or stalk of a plant, so it should be treated like a cabbage crop, it can also harbour the same pests & diseases.

As I said, crop rotation is not an exact science. There are many overlaps. The main thing is don't grow crops of the same family in the same spot, nor crops that share the same pests and diseases.
 

Offline Poppa Tommo

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2016, 07:51:43 AM »
When I first got the plot I did a load of research, mainly on the Internet,  and came up with the following scheme based on 5 beds for crop rotation.

Year 1 - Potatoes and manure followed by mustard green manure and followed by lime
Year 2 - Peas and beans followed by more lime if required
Year 3 - Brassicas
Year 4 - Sweetcorn and squashes
Year 5 - Roots and onions followed by manure
The only thing I can add in the 5 year or 5 bed rotation is that sweet corn and squashes are easily as greedy as spuds so you can, for the purpose of when spreading manure, let them share or extend the potato bed. I have toyed with idea of inter planting sweet corn and potatoes in the late-to-lift main crop spuds. Maybe I'll try that in a small way sometime.


I know that our North Americal Indiginous relatives have used the '3 Sisters' approach by sowing Squash, Pole beans and Maize all in the same space. Maize providing the 'canes' for the pole beans and the squashes providing ground, weed-suppressing cover. I tried this once- never again- because unlike the Amerindians who grow these three crops for storage through winter, I need to pick mine through the summer. I couldn't get to the runner beans without treading all over the squash vines and likewise when trying to harvest the summer squash and early sweet corn. Very frustrating. I tend to keep thins relatively separate these days.
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Offline Big Gee

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2016, 12:22:26 PM »
I would echo your comment about crop growing in close proximity Tommo. Jungles may look good but it's a nightmare for harvesting. I have enough difficulty with one crop at a time, fighting to get at something because of other things getting in the way is not funny, although visions of you getting in a tangle made me laugh!

Those native folk in America must have very short runners for growing up sweet corn stalks - not suitable for 12 - 18 foot high Aeron Purple Stars!
 

Offline aftermidnight

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Re: crop rotation
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2016, 03:12:03 PM »
''Those native folk in America must have very short runners for growing up sweet corn stalks - not suitable for 12 - 18 foot high Aeron Purple Stars!"

There are a lot of bean varieties that just grow to 5-6 feet and there are the twining bush types, bush beans with short runners 'Candy' being one classed as a twining bush usually puts out 3- 4ft. runners, this one sent out vines approaching 6 ft. for me this year.
I think any common bean (P. vulgaris ) could be grown up corn stocks, never done it myself as I rarely grow corn having a small garden, and the amount of bean varieties I grow each year, trying to fit in a block of corn is nye on impossible but I have always wanted to try this.

Annette

Annette