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rotation planting

January 17, 2008

zora naki

Back yard - 2007My planting plans are afoot! This is my 9′ x 12′ garden a few days ago. As you can see, it is currently bedded down for the winter with a layer of leaves and my compost is located smack dab in the middle. The compost bin will be relocated momentarily and I plan to build four beds with 12″ wide paths between them (see below). I’ve been reading up on rotation planting and it seems like a good idea (duh!).

The theory is that by rotating crops (even in a wee garden), you reduce the incidence of disease and insect infestation – basically confusing them by moving everything around. Because plants use nutrients differently, the soil isn’t exhausted as quickly. Different plants like different soils (pH values), so it makes sense to coordinate soil acidity and nutrition with the needs of the crop you are trying to grow.
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Hence, the three-bed rotation system.

Year One: add compost and fertilizer to all three beds, add lime to Bed One. Plant spinach, lettuce and brassicas in Bed One, plant peas, beans, squash and alliums (garlic, onions) in Bed Two. Plant tomatoes and root crops in Bed Three.

Year Two: add compost and fertilizer to all three beds, add lime to Bed Two (preferably grow cover crop over winter in Bed Two and turn under before planting as well). Plant tomatoes and root crops in Bed One. Plant spinach, lettuce and brassicas in Bed Two. Plant peas, beans, squash and alliums (garlic, onions) in Bed Three.

Year Three: add compost and fertilizer to all three beds, add lime to Bed Three(preferably grow cover crop over winter in Bed Three and turn under before planting as well). Plant peas, beans, squash and alliums (garlic, onions) in Bed One. Plant tomatoes and root crops in Bed Two. Plant spinach, lettuce and brassicas in Bed Three.

In my case – I’m planting four beds, because that’s what i have room for and because i wasn’t really sure where to group some of the vegetables. Ahem.

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