Saturday, April 27, 2013

Crop Rotation

I know it sounds industrial but crop rotation is one of the best ways to prevent depletion of minerals and buildup of pests and disease.  Crop rotation simply put means that you try to space planting the same family of plants in the same spot by at least 3 years.  If you are like me and companion plant I do think that you get a little more wiggle room.

Here's a rotation in real time:

Swiss Chard
This was last fall.  We overwintered with row cover, so the large plants are long gone, but the smaller ones are really nice now.

Same bed, frame removed and amended with 1" loosely incorporated compost
Now here come the tomatoes, OK you can't see them, but they are inside the walls of water.

There you have it, simple crop rotation.  I'll leave the Chard in for another month or 2.  It will bolt when it gets hot and we will pull it out.  This is about the time the tomatoes will start to really take up space.

This is not to say that I've never had pests or disease, but its pretty minimal in our garden so far and we've grown in these beds intensively for the last 6 years.

For a really good reference on Crop Rotation, I recommend The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman.

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Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.