Sunday, 20 July 2008

Crop Rotation

Of all things I find this the hardest thing to sort out. It would be so easy if all things were planted on the same day and cropped on the same day. Simple to rotate then. Fortunately, vegetables aren't like that or we would be hungry for half the year.

Crop rotation is essential to growing vegetables to avoid the build up of pests and diseases which hide themselves in the ground and are more than capable of over-wintering and rearing their ugly heads the following year. Not all vegetables need to be rotated but it always helps if it's possible and for some it's vital.

I have done my best to organise my plot into beds and thanks to Max putting slates around them this has worked quite well - although we will have to change them as the hose pipe keeps catching on them. So I have a number of beds with different vegetables in each. So far, so good. But now I've dug up the potatoes what goes in next? I'm about to dig up the onions - what can I put in their place? And after the French beans are finished?

I spent this morning putting my cauliflower (Nautilus) and broccoli (Marathon F1) in the potato bed, together with some leeks (blawgroene herfst) that I bought yesterday. It seems I got it wrong!

I wish I'd found Downsizer first! This is the first time I've seen crop rotation simplified so that even I can understand and follow it - although it's a bit late for the caulis and broccoli unfortunately. Brassicas don't appreciate the ground left by potatoes as it is not firm enough. Well, at least I've discovered this in time to make sure they are well firmed in even if I can't move them. I think the leeks will be ok - I hope so as it took two hours to get them in!

So if you want some help with your crop rotation take a look at Downsizer and see if it helps.

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