Sunday, April 10, 2016

Crop Rotation Plan 2016


This is what blogging about allotments is all about: getting something up into the cloud so that you can come back in the future to see what you were doing, and this is really important, of course, for crop rotation. Above is a plan, running South - North/Left - Right. A lot of it is to scale, especially the beds, I did some measuring yesterday. It's 10 pixels to the foot.

  • The SW bed, "carrots and onions", is a bit squashed up because of the oomska and wood piles to its left, and newly discovered path to its right. Carrots, parsnips, garlic and onions don't need much room. And I had to be careful with onions: latterly, apparently, The Predecessor grew them as a mono-crop, but this area was uncultivated for some years, being mostly nettles last year, and, "Possibilities for crops succeeding nettle are potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and other root crops", Vogl & Hartl, 2003. 
  • The southern end of the Midwest bed was the old greenhouse foundations and the only cultivated area recently: onions. So it needs the nitrogen. Most of the rest of it was the Frogs Winter Palace, so it didn't get any benefit from the winter field beans, unlike...
  • The North Western bed, which was well planted with field beans over winter, and is therefore fed and ready for brassicas. 
  • The Pond bed is tatties this year. It has the benefit of lots of organic matter, being planted with phacelia last year, dug in, and loam from the fruit bush area.  

Frankly, I'm winging it this year. The oomska isn't rotted enough to put on the beds yet. But I did my best last year with the green manures. Besides, goodness me, the soil is a right dog's breakfast: the bluey-green clay from under the path; the yellow subsoil clay; the nice loamy soil from the fruit bush area and heaps at the bottom; and the pre-existing topsoil, which appeared to be ok, but some had been waterlogged for years.

So this is a note to myself to be read in October '16: I'm planning to lime the Pond bed, sow it with winter field beans under 2ins of oomska. The rest, I don't know, but I have plenty of oomska to lay on everywhere it's needed, and move to no-dig. And I'm thinking that the truncated SW bed, carrots & onions this year, will be the perennial bed and site for the poly-tunnel next year, because, inshallah, I will have brought the whole midden area in front of the shed, (a blank on the plan at the moment) into cultivation come the autumn. Oh yeah, and I will need to figure winter/spring brassicas into the plan. Over winter garlic also.

REFERENCES
 

Vogl, C. R., & Hartl, A. (2003). Production and processing of organically grown fiber nettle (Urtica dioica L.) and its potential use in the natural textile industry: A review. American journal of alternative agriculture, 18(03), 119-128.