Crop Rotation For Your Kitchen Garden
Out of chilies? Go and fetch some from your garden. No cilantro left for garnishing? Take a few sprigs from the pot. Sounds far-fetched to you? This is not a dream! You can make this happen by simply having a kitchen garden. Do you already have one but are not happy with its produce? Don’t worry the answer to your dilemmas lies here.
Crop rotation for your kitchen garden is a great solution to your problems. Crop rotation in general is termed as the process of growing dissimilar types of plants and crops in the same area in a sequential order or series. It proves to be very beneficial for the soil and especially fixes the nitrogen content in the soil. Growing the same type of plant in the same place for years together depletes the soil of specific nutrients. The choice of rotation of crops depends on factors like; the nature of the soil, the climate of the area and the degree of precipitation. Crop rotations may include two to six or more rotations over several seasons.
Merits of Crop Rotation
– It maintains and improves soil fertility.
– It prevents the buildup of pests, weeds & soil diseases.
– It helps in the control of soil erosion.
– It also ensures balanced program of work throughout the year.
– It conserves moisture from one season to the next.
Points to Keep in Mind
– It should be adaptable to the existing soil conditions.
– It should contain a number of soil improving crops to maintain and build up the organic matter content of the soil.
– It should be arranged in a manner that it can help in control of weeds, plant diseases and pests.
Following these simple steps, you can practice this art in your home without much of a fuss.
Start by making a rough sketch of the garden. As you plant, note the date and placement of plants in the sketch by keeping a journal. Note each planting of the year. This will help you remember how you planted the garden last year, so you won’t follow the exact same plan this year.
Simply, divide your growing space into a number of distinct sections, identify the crops you want to grow and then keep plants of the same type together in one area. Every year the plants grown in each given area are changed, so that each group can have the advantage of the new ground.
The Golden Thumb Rule
Crop rotation schemes tend to run for at least three or four years. If your beds are divided into four groups, this means that members of each plant family won’t occupy the same spot more than once in a four-year period. Also, set aside a permanent bed for perennial vegetables, which won’t change with your rotation plan (such as soft fruit, rhubarb, asparagus etc.)
1. Legumes: Beans, peas, peanuts. The legume family is the nitrogen engineers. They fix the nitrogen content of the soil by the process of nitrification, owing to the nitrogen fixing bacteria that are ever present in their root nodules.
2. Root vegetables: Radish, carrot, potato, onion, garlic, beet, sweet potato. They are heavy potassium users. Wood ashes, gypsum, kelps are a good source of potassium.
3. Leafy greens: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach. They are lovers of nitrogen so always keep them close to legumes.
4. Fruit-bearing: Tomato, corn, cucumber, squash, pumpkin. They have an expensive taste. They grow best in rich soil. Fruit bearing plants have a kinship with phosphorous.
Now that you have the order of plants, implement your rotation plan. Begin planting your plants in amended soil, according to your rotation plan. Take notes of your experiences and which plan gave you the best results and produce and jot them down in your journal.
If you have a good experience and an increase in your fresh produce don’t forget to send us a basket of your produce! Just kidding! Share your experiences, though, and spread the word. The more the merrier.