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Crop rotation and over wintering crops


 
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Keeks
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:30 am    Post subject: Crop rotation and over wintering crops Reply with quote

Ok I know overwintering crops is a looooong way off, but was just reading somethng about planting onions set and it also mentioned about overwintering onion sets.

So it got me thinking....so where do you plant oberwintering crops in a crop rotation.....in the same bed that the summer crops were in, along with some feed, or in next years rotation plot?
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is always a problem for me. Crop rotation is fine and dandy if you have the space and grow all the crops listed in the books on the subject.

I grow a few 'roots', loads of legumes (peas/beans) and the brassicas are all over wintering or early spring (nothing in the summer). This means there is quite often an overlap of some things.

I think as long as you don't grow the same crop in the same place each year, you can bend the rules a little. I am growing burdock this year. It is a biennial so I have put it at the back of a bed out of the way of other crops.

When I did grow onions I would always harvest the lot in one go and store the best a la French onion seller - in a string.

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unlike Sue, this is a 'problem' I've overcome by not planting them. It's one of those things that seems to be a wonderful idea but all too often the space you want to use for them doesn't become available soon enough (because of other 'sitting' crops or the weather doesn't allow you on to the ground) and I always seemed to be trying to work round them all winter when doing other jobs.

When I discovered that the spring planted ones came in only 3-4 weeks after the over-winter ones, I decided it wasn't worth the aggro. One crop that DOES benefit from the system is broad beans. They are said to be markedly more immune to pests/diseases, e.g. blackfly, but, as we don't seem to get that in this area, I've never bothered. You don't say where you are but you may like to consider both sides of the equation.

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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I didn't make the post clear. The 'problem' is with crop rotation in general, not just onions, which I don't grow anyway. I have tried them,but have found they are too much effort for very little reward. Especially when our local 'veg man' can get good ones for pennies.

The point was, as you said, sometimes you are waiting for a crop to finish, so you can plant the next one in the rotation. When that is likely to happen, as with overwintering broccoli or broad beans, then I plant of sow those at the end of the bed, not plonk in the middle, and work around them.

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tippben
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are 6 raised beds 4' wide. One is given over to rhubarb and a gooseberry bush, but there is still enough space for a few other things, like one row of mangetout, or some spinach. The other beds are a similar mishmash. I never grow many of the same types of plants so 2 courgettes, 30 shallots, 6 runner beans and assorted "catch crops" of beetroot, rocket etc might easily end up in one bed.

We do devote a fair space for kale, garlic and broad beans. These are easy enough to remember and use a rotation (as a guideline), but mostly it's more like "square foot" gardening. Everything wherever there is a space. Lots of things like rocket, radish, nasturtiums self seed anyway, so if they are happy enough, I leave them to it. For us, it's not about the local show, or impressing anybody, just food in the garden all the time.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds pretty much like my plot. But I do try to follow some kind of plan. I always try to follow nitrogen fixing beans with cabbages and never sow roots in newly manured ground. I also never grow anything in the same plot two years running.
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tippben
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do the same Sue, but I'd only sow maybe 3x 4 foot rows of carrots a year, and maybe 25 parsnips, to pick small in the summer and early autumn respectively. That makes it easy to get out every lump and stone from that area, which I can remember, because I've marked it with canes.

yes, I do try to follow the "People Love Bunches Of Roses" (Potatoes, Legumes such as beans. Brassicas= cabbage family, Onion family, Roots) as a general rule, but the areas are so small that I tend to bung three leek plants that didn't fit a grid in the corner next to a few of runner beans climbing up a hazel tripod etc. etc. One of this here, a few of that there, oh look! There's a random pumpkin seedling popped up. I wonder what it'll turn into? Hmm. I'll work around it and water/feed it directly.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last year was the first year of the new veg garden. I couldn't understand where the taters were coming from - everywhere! They were popping up from tiny taters left in the ground from the previous year and growing up through 2' 6"" of soil. Shocked
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are called volunteers Sue.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Tippben's little motto but, maybe because I don't spend enough time on working things out, I have difficulty balancing quantities of each, e.g. would I grow enough Legumes to fill the space occupied by last year's Potatoes. At the 'crop' end of things I tend to like growing things that will produce food in the quiet time. So, I've just had to lift my last few giant parsnips (and give them away to neighbours), and we've had two large meals with leeks, just so that I can clear the space for this year's peas. In both cases they were the last of the 2015 sowings. Mind you, with one Gladiator parsnip doing us for four meals, it's no wonder they lasted that long!

My maverick system revolves around a blank plan of my plot that I have on my computer. Each year I print off a copy, get the last two years' plans out of a ring binder I keep, and write in where I plan to plant each crop. Nothing goes in where I've had it in the last two years and, as I get each species ready for planting (seeds or plants), I can refer to the plan to remind myself where each has to go. As per previous threads I then apply nutrients to each plant, where possible, rather than the overall section of plot.

Ah well! The rain's back this morning.

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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blowin -I have done the same thing, but the old fashioned way with graph paper.

I did do a series of plans of the beds in the rest of the garden, and I photocopy them every year and update a plant list for each one. It is a great help as I keep track of the plants that work, the ones that don't and helps to stop me putting a spade through dormant plants!

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Keeks
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although the cnversationhas moved a bit frommy original question, i get the impression that either way when it comes to crop rotation it all cmes down to space.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a small plot it makes little or no difference. I would only start worrying about rotation if you were a commercial grower.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, Keeks. Space is a governing factor but there's one golden rule - try not to put the same crops in the same spot as any disease will transfer to the second one. Other than that, create as much nutrition as you can via composting etc. to restore what you've taken out. Good luck with it.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Blowin. Crop rotation helps keep the 'bugs' guessing and also different crops need different nutrients. Roots don't like too rich a soil, but beans are very greedy.
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