Sunday, February 15, 2015

Small Garden-Part 1-Crop Rotation


It's the time of year where I like to start thinking about the garden plans. It is way too early to plant, unless you are starting some seeds inside and I am not......but every year I have to plan out where things will go. Most of our gardening here in the city, is done in raised beds and since I practice crop rotation, it means I need to keep track and plan it out.



 This was the plan... at least part of it... from the old house where we had 6 main raised beds. I had it all planned out... and even colored some of it with colored pencils. After planning everything, I found that I needed more room for some things and less for others... but we learned.

It helped to number the beds, so we could refer to them... I also marked the direction of north...

 The next year, there was no color to the plan, but I still put the plan on paper.. and I do it every year... although the plans have become less and less orderly. :)   It is nice to look back and see what we planted and where.


 Mostly, it helps so that I don't plant the same thing in the same bed 2 years in a row. Crop rotation helps to minimize insect and disease problems.  By changing what is planted in the bed, the insects and diseases troubling certain types of plants may find they have no host.. .and so they die out. I replant in the same bed 3 years later.

I usually take the notebook out to the garden when I plant... sometimes I follow the plan in the notebook... and sometimes I PUT the plan in the notebook as I plant... :)  Both work. My pages have gotten damp from rain... but it is a working notebook. I have had better and more detailed records some years... and less others. One year, I had quite an elaborate chart of what I planted... price I paid for the seeds, date planted, first harvest, last harvest, pests, yield, etc..... I don't do that anymore. :)  I am just too busy to keep up with all of it... and the main thing is to plant and harvest, so that is what I focus on.


  
This was the start of the raised beds at the new house... we have lived in the "new" house for 18 years now. :)  
 We only had room to put 4 beds in at the new house... and they didn't go in for many years. Before we had the beds, we made other beds here and there out in the back garden... or used pots... or used a bit of ground. I can't imagine being totally without a garden. :)

 The plans are not detailed... just enough to help me remember where things were planted. 

I try to rotate vegetable families on a 3 year rotation plan. I have done 3 year because that is about all I can handle for the space I have... a 4 year rotation would actually be better for some of the crops.
I tend to rotate these plants:

1. brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes

2. tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons, potatoes

3. carrots, parsnips, parsley, dill, fennel, coriander

4. peas, beans 

5. onions, garlic
 What the groups mean is that I try not to plant anything from a group into the same bed for 2 years after I have planted something from the group in a bed. 

You can see how that can really complicate things... especially when I have such a limited amount of space. I cannot always keep to this, but it does help when I do.

Since I have 5 groups, that doesn't work well with 4 beds and a 3 year rotation.... sometimes I rotate half of a bed instead of the whole thing... it isn't ideal, but it works. We also LOVE tomatoes, so usually 2 of the beds are full of tomatoes... so those only get a 2 year rotation usually, although I also plant some on the side of the house, in the back garden, in a pot... or other places. :)



We continue to add beds here and theres, so I really need to come up with a better map of my beds. I have started doing 2 and 3 crops of certain vegetables, which really complicates the planning....and the rotating.

I also try to practice companion planting which really helps the way my plants grow. 

Keeping track of garden plans from year to year, is a good idea.

I find that my garden, like life, is in a constant transistion... as I learn more, as we change how we do things... or plant more... or less.... as we add beds... or take them away... we adjust how we do things... and God blesses the harvest. Some years the harvest is great and other years it is lighter... but He always provides. Some years, the tomatoes do amazingly well.... other years the cukes do great and the tomatoes don't give as many. For me, crop rotation is one way to protect my soil, and my plants... it helps with pest control... and also to keep from depleting certain nutrients in the soil. 

If you have never had a garden, don't let a plan deter you... and if all you can do is have a pot of plants, I hope you will... those homegrown tomatoes.. or peppers... or cucumbers...or herbs.... etc ... are wonderful. Using a pot, or a little flower bed or a raised bed... can provide some food... It is also surprising how much can be grown in a small space.

I plan to do more in this series about small gardens... and what works in my garden... I hope you will return... and I would love to hear your comments of what works in your garden... whether it is large or small.  Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful week. 

The Small Garden Series:

Small Garden-Part 1-Crop Rotation

Small Garden-Part 2-Growing UP

Small Garden-Part 3-More Beds

Shared on:




Gardens Galore
Simple Saturdays
Homestead Blog Hop

32 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing how you plan your annual garden. Crop rotation is such a good idea to help maximize your yield. I would love to be able to have raised beds one day. I hesitate to do it while we're renting... not sure the landlords would appreciate it :-) I had outdoor container gardens when we lived in Georgia, but I have yet to grow anything since we've lived here. I might start again this spring. Thank you for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome.... I wouldn't do raised beds while renting either... BUT I probably would do container gardening... you can use pots or plastic totes... just put drainage holes in the bottom and they work great. We have used totes for sweet potatoes and that worked great. Thank you for visiting.... I hope you are able to get a little garden growing soon.... .it is so nice to have our own food growing at home. :)

      Delete
  2. I love the idea of keeping it all in one place in a binder. Very helpful! Good luck on your gardening :)

    Thank you for tossing your hat into the ring at the Party Under The Big Top! We hope to see you again next week!
    #BigTopBlogParty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It works for me... thank you... l am looking forward to the gardening starting up soon. :)

      Delete
  3. I have been saying for the past two years that this is the year we will plant a garden and for one reason or another it hasn't happened. I have the perfect spot picked out in our yard and all of the details sort of planned out but your tips/ideas above have given me the added inspiration and push to go forward with it this year. As a matter of fact I showed my husband this post and he agrees that your ideas are wonderful! Thank you for joining us and linking up to Party Under the Big Top! Hope to see you again next time!

    Wishing you a fabulous week!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx
    Welcome to My Circus
    #BigTopBlogParty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a nice comment! There will be a part 2 coming soon in this series that you may also be interested in.. it will be about growing things UP to save space. I hope you are able to get your garden growing... it is so rewarding to see things start to come up... and then to harvest and use them. :) Thank you fro visiting.

      Delete
  4. What a great plan you have and I really like the raised beds. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... it has worked well for us. Thank you for visiting and for the great link up party. :)

      Delete
  5. I have a simialr teepee thing in my garden-love the sugar peas on it! Your plan looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... sugar peas sound good...especially now, with another storm headed in. :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  6. Wow, you are quite organized and your information is very helpful. I am new at gardening and planted my first vegetable garden last year :) This year I will plant again, but the garden will be small. So glad you shared this at ROI.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... I hope it will be helpful to many. I hope your gardening goes wonderfully well this year. :) Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. I startrd using notebook to keep my garden plans in last year and found it really helpful. I need to start planning this years garden soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to start planning mine also.... AND I added new beds last year, but didn't put them in my notebook, so I need to remember what I had in them. I love having things recorded in the notebook.... it makes is so much easier than trying to remember. :)

      Delete
  8. Great article and I love your garden. Glad you linked up to Simple Saturdays.

    Hugs from Oklahoma,

    Valerie
    Cottage Making Mommy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - what a nice comment! :) Glad you visited.

      Delete
  9. Nice garden! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love this post.....I write everything out by hand too!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you join us again this week!

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one!!! :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  11. These are some great tips on rotations. We always rotate crops in our fields, but for some reason I always forget the importance of it in the garden. I found you at the Country Fair Blog Party

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found that it really helps.... so glad you visited. :)

      Delete
  12. Rotating is so important in my garden too. Right now the sweet corn takes up the most amount of room and that is easy to remember where to put it each year so that it is rotated. The other veggies, well, lets just say I could really use a working notebook like yours. Thanks so much for sharing your post at the Country Fair Blog Party!
    Laurie - Country Link

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try so hard to remember, but find it all gets mixed up in my mind from year to year, so have found I need the notebook, but I keep intending to make it better... and I haven't. :( We keep learning and improving, don't we? Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete
  13. Great post. Congrats on being chosen as a featured post on this week’s Wildcrafting Wednesdays! I hope you'll join us again and share more of your awesome posts.
    http://www.herbanmomma.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.... and what a blessing to have my post featured! Thank you. :)

      Delete
  14. I haven't been able to have a vegetable garden here because of sun issues. I forgot about crop rotations. We did that many years ago with our vegetable gardens at one of our first homes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a challenge when there isn't enough sun, but some of these things can help... Sometimes, I've wondered about making a garden on wheels to move it to the sun at various times of the day... but no.. too much work. :) I have found crop rotation to really help though.

      Delete
  15. Beautiful! I kept track of things in the way you show here before blogging days. Like you, I can't keep up with everything anymore - and only plant an occasional herb here and there, mixed in bush beds with flowers and flowering shrubs, etc. I enjoyed seeing the detail in your drawings and record-keeping. I'm sure others will, too. They will be able to use yours as a fine example! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I have had ideas of developing more professional looking charts and forms, but these get the job done. :) So glad you stopped by and commented.

      Delete
  16. I love your plans and keeping up with them so as to avoid disease. Here in the Deep South, I remember learning the importance of crop rotation in elementary school. Many years ago, the land was stripped of its nutrients because cotton was planted yearly without rotation. Farmers learned the importance. I notice now they will plant soybeans one year and the next it will be cotton. Thanks for this valuable info and for sharing at Gardens Galore! Happy Gardening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found that even in my small garden, the practice does make a difference so I can imagine the impact would be huge on the large fields. I like keeping the records although sometimes I get too busy and later wish I had been a "bit" more thorough. :)

      Delete