Crop rotation

 
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Cliffsidegardens
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 27-Dec-2021, 19:09

Crop rotation

Post by Cliffsidegardens »

With living soil, will I find less of a need for crop rotation? I'd love to build two permanent beds with support structures and built-in row covers to grow tomatoes/eggplant/peppers and melons, but I wonder if after 2-3 growing seasons I'll see disease problems from lacking a 3-4 bed rotation. Could I just switch the two beds back and forth every year with success do you think?
PeasIntheRain
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Joined: Thu 30-Dec-2021, 12:57

Re: Crop rotation

Post by PeasIntheRain »

Seconding this question, please! This aspect of permaculture is hard to navigate, at first. I'm building in a high proportion of perennials, including perennial vegetables, into the garden, and it's not always easy to figure out where to handle the annuals.

So in addition to Deb's question about beds:
Is it best to have a completely undisturbed permaculture section, separate from an intermittently disturbed (surface raking for weed control, planting, pulling tubers) annuals section with crop rotation? Or are people finding more success in gardening in and around the perennials?
Cliffsidegardens
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Joined: Mon 27-Dec-2021, 19:09

Re: Crop rotation

Post by Cliffsidegardens »

PeasIntheRain wrote: Thu 06-Jan-2022, 09:05 Seconding this question, please! This aspect of permaculture is hard to navigate, at first. I'm building in a high proportion of perennials, including perennial vegetables, into the garden, and it's not always easy to figure out where to handle the annuals.

So in addition to Deb's question about beds:
Is it best to have a completely undisturbed permaculture section, separate from an intermittently disturbed (surface raking for weed control, planting, pulling tubers) annuals section with crop rotation? Or are people finding more success in gardening in and around the perennials?
oooooo what are some of the perennial veggies you're growing? I'm hoping to incorporate a bunch into our landscaping outside my veggie garden but finding it a bit tough to know what to go for
Danoost
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Re: Crop rotation

Post by Danoost »

We have been growing our tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the same growing area for years without problems. We often grow potatoes and garlic in the same areas for a few years as well. Healthy soils keep things in balance and pests and disease can be kept in check. Healthy soils have the full spectrum of minerals and microbes available to help any plant. Some plants require mycorrhizal fungi as a partner. These specialist fungi nourish the plant with nutrients in exchange for carbon sugars and other goodies. When plants like potatoes are grown in soils where these fungi are already present, they can immediately get to work.

The reason we grow our some crops in the same area is because we use a permanent trellis system that's cumbersome to move. Garlic is grown in the parts of our farm that are higher and dryer through the winter.

Forming permanent beds is really important. It's probably best to mix perennials and annuals in the same bed but this can become inefficient and hard to manage. You're better off using one area for your annuals and one for your perennials. That's what I'm doing in my home garden. My annual beds are of equal size and shape and this keeps planning easy. My perennial area is going to be a mixture of plants. Jack is going to help me design this and we'll share it with participants.

Cliffsidegardens: check out the list of perennial crops that can be grown. They're on the main forum page.
Cliffsidegardens
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 27-Dec-2021, 19:09

Re: Crop rotation

Post by Cliffsidegardens »

Danoost wrote: Fri 07-Jan-2022, 12:17 We have been growing our tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the same growing area for years without problems. We often grow potatoes and garlic in the same areas for a few years as well. Healthy soils keep things in balance and pests and disease can be kept in check. Healthy soils have the full spectrum of minerals and microbes available to help any plant. Some plants require mycorrhizal fungi as a partner. These specialist fungi nourish the plant with nutrients in exchange for carbon sugars and other goodies. When plants like potatoes are grown in soils where these fungi are already present, they can immediately get to work.

The reason we grow our some crops in the same area is because we use a permanent trellis system that's cumbersome to move. Garlic is grown in the parts of our farm that are higher and dryer through the winter.

Forming permanent beds is really important. It's probably best to mix perennials and annuals in the same bed but this can become inefficient and hard to manage. You're better off using one area for your annuals and one for your perennials. That's what I'm doing in my home garden. My annual beds are of equal size and shape and this keeps planning easy. My perennial area is going to be a mixture of plants. Jack is going to help me design this and we'll share it with participants.

Cliffsidegardens: check out the list of perennial crops that can be grown. They're on the main forum page.
Thanks Dan! I think I've cracked the plot puzzle and will switch my sunnier front yard plot for a couple raised beds with greenhouse tops, and put in a much larger stepped garden zone in the backyard. This year is off to a great brainstorming and learning start. I feel like I can't get info from you guys fast enough, the stoke is high! The pace is good though, it's helping me ruminate longer on the topics as they come
PeasIntheRain
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu 30-Dec-2021, 12:57

Re: Crop rotation

Post by PeasIntheRain »

Cliffsidegardens wrote: Thu 06-Jan-2022, 14:49 oooooo what are some of the perennial veggies you're growing? I'm hoping to incorporate a bunch into our landscaping outside my veggie garden but finding it a bit tough to know what to go for
Oh, it's fun here because the PNW has lots of options, both native and non-native. I find it helpful to think of 'permanent' vegetables in three ways:

1) true plant-and-forget perennials. I'm growing things like asparagus (likes a wet area), artichoke (I've not yet established plants but have seen them throughout Victoria), hosta (edible shoots in the spring), ferns, lovage, dahlia tubers, rhubarb... Some are invasive, like horseradish, so need to be contained.

2) interact annually but no need to buy seeds/starts again: potatoes and many other tubers, like sunchokes, oca, ginger. I've not yet successfully grown the latter three; they're on my wish list! Seed-saving obviously expands this option but everyone can keep a potato going.

3) self-seeding. Borage (I'm considering it a veg here because we eat the flowers and sometimes use the leaves, although mostly it serves to feed the bees and animals), parsley, etc.

For ideas, check out Native Foods Nursery in Oregon https://nativefoodsnursery.com/categori ... egetables/ and there are a growing number of similar businesses around, so it's worth checking in your area. There are also non-native options, some of which are worthwhile in the sense of maintaining plant diversity and meeting your other priorities. For instance, https://www.cultivariable.com/

Separately, a lot of herbs and medicinals are easily perennial; they're important but not 'vegetables' in the common sense. Rosehips and of course all the other berry and nut shrubs; for herbs, everything from lemongrass and verbena to sage to mint (should be kept in pots because it is invasive) to oregano... Some of those have benefits in co-plantings with annuals, which is why I'm constantly trying to sort out locations. But lots also work in a beauty-focused landscaping.

Dan, thanks for the comments. It's helpful to know that continued soil amendment (adding compost and mulch) in a permanent bed is sufficient to permit repeats of a single crop.
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