View Full Version : companion planting vs crop rotaion
11-11-2005, 02:31 PM
my garden is really caotic and I have no beds with only one plant. The question is wether companion planting is sufficient or do I have to make crop rotation,which is difficult if you are growing many different things at the same time. (As I am a new gardener often do not know if a plant is a weed or someting I haev planted)
11-11-2005, 02:36 PM
I often wonder how crop rotation works when one's garden looks like a mad woman's breakfast. :lol:
Linda Woodrow writes in her book that she keeps meticulous records of what's planted where so she doesn't plant the same thing in the same place twice running. I respect her and agree, but who can be bothered?
Any suggestions to make this job easier?
11-11-2005, 02:37 PM
ha ha.. I made up a bed, got a whole heap of seeds, mixed them together, then sprikled them in.. raked over a little and watered :)
They are al up now and I'm starting to see the weeds from the plants, so every morning before before I make the jounry to work, I grab 20 or so weeds..
12-11-2005, 05:08 AM
Ruth Stout, in her books, states that in 25 years she never tilled, weeded, cultivated, added fertilizer, or rotated her crop. She just mulched all year round and planted.
I think 25 years is a pretty good trial.
12-11-2005, 05:13 AM
I think it depends on your area. Here we have problems with tomatoes and as they're an important crop to me, both fresh and canned, I make sure I never plant them in the same site as the previous year's tomatoes or potatoes (same family). All other things I'm no so careful with but I do try to plant leafy veg after beans and peas for the residual nitrogen. My garden beds are fairly orderly, I doubt it would work otherwise.
12-11-2005, 03:59 PM
Can't argue about your environment. Except to say this:
We are also told that, here, you must not grow tomatoes where they (or spuds) have grown before. And vice versa.
However, my parents didn't have much space in their garden when I was growing up, and they liked to grow a lot of tomatoes. Put the two together and you get that they were grown in the same space. They lived in the same house for 25 years.
Additionally, they tell me that my grandfather grew a vast amount of potatoes (well 'vast' is how it looked to my mother when she was 5), always in the same spot, for 25 years. Can't say whether he used certified seed potatoes, but knowing my grandfather, probably not.
Mmmm..... That 25 year figure seems to pop up a lot in my stories, doesn't it?
Anyway, 25 years? Forever? What's the difference?
What's my point? Nothing really. If you have the space, rotate. But it would appear that even if you can't, then all may not be lost.
12-11-2005, 04:15 PM
I think crop Rotation was something that developed from a need to stop certain pests etc get a strangle hold in the soil.eg Tomatoes,and other crops that suffer from too many plantings in same beds.
My self I think it may of come from the organic gardners who noticed these anmoloies after care full study of the gardening practises.this has changed slightly with the intro of nitrogen plants and soil conditioner plants while they rest for a period.
With the advent of permaculture plus others this may of changed due to different ways of soil treatment,resting and management,also the absolutly amazing varietys of vegatables these days compared with yester year....
With Permaculturists leaving plants to go to sead,this has caused seads to blow any/every where,so as to grow in allmost anywhere they like/able to...
the concept of never having bare ground as a permie has altered this too.bare ground is bad ground/weeds grow where the soil is bare,so i suppose crops wwere planted rather then a heap of weeds taking over and leaving soil nutrientless because of it..
I think it all boils down to experience,skill forsight and knowledge after that..permies dont like empty spaces other gardener types dont mind.
Its all a matter of choice after all.with permie pratices,all kinds of nutrients can be added all year around,any time,in a modern vegie growing area its not allways practacle to,do as is in a back garden situation...
The skills we get taught are for commercial productions ratgher then just
a family.both have their merits as well as their downsides.A permies garden Once established should be self working ,,,As apposed to a conventional garden requiring a continual presance and continual monitoring maintanence...
Permaculture is Based on the Forrest Principle.Not the conventional meens
Wellcome Mike from New Zealand hope u visit often
13-11-2005, 10:08 PM
The merits of crop rotation and companion planting are well known. I developed this little graphic a few years ago to make the idea of crop rotation a bit easier to follow. This pattern is universal and can be applied to domestic gardens, Woodrowesque chook mandala systems or broadacre cropping systems. http://www.permaculture.biz/VegRotationCycle.jpg
13-11-2005, 11:07 PM
That simplifies it immensely.
Might even try applying it to my mad woman's breakfast vegie garden. :D
14-11-2005, 08:53 AM
many diffenent opinions! The rotation fruit -leaves-.... does only work if you have one bed with one plant. I think it is not bad or good but I like mixing my beds. But with an emphasis of fruit at least this cannot be planted in autumn and I have my rotation??
14-11-2005, 08:40 PM
Linda Woodrow, in her book 'The Permaculture Home garden' does mix up all of her plants and would you believe it, she keep records of what went where, so she doesn't plant the same thing in the same place twice running.
Now that's committment for you!
Richard on Maui
15-11-2005, 02:03 AM
I think you can still follow the rotation practise in a rough sort of way even when you have a diverse planting in one bed. Often our beds will have a mixture of different things, with representatives from all the major plant families, but with an emphasis on one or the other; so even though tomatoes and eggplants only make up 65% of the plants in the bed, will we call it a solanacae garden, and try to minimise replanting it with members of that family the next time around.
I don't think you need to be fascist about it, but for sure, following the principle will give your soil a chance to settle back into balance.
MikE - I don't want to poopoo what you say either, I am quite an advocate of the "if ain't broke" school, but that sort of practice, "not enough land, so don't bother rotating the potatoes" was pretty much what caused those Irish potato famines, right? of course, without them, New York wouldn't be full of Irish cops and Christopher mightn't be in Belize busting out all that good tropical polyculture, so its all good. :wink:
15-11-2005, 09:56 AM
I'm not sure exactly what I do.
I try to remember where I planted everything last year though I don't write it down (I'm pretty right). I don't put tomatoes in the same place, but potatoes are a problem. I miss the odd one when I dig them up and this year I have them amongst the beans (where they are not supposed to do well) and between some onions. If the plants look healthy, I leave them, so I have potatoes in a few odd places.
I always look at the circle diagrams and then can't follow it because I have to take into account the micro-climate stuff too. There are a couple of spots that have less hours of sun in the summer because of big trees and a spot which is too cold in winter for much at all.
After taking all of that into account, I always start more baby plants than I need (using the plastic containers inside styrofoam boxes as described by Linda Woodrow). I plant the seedlings in a variety of places so that, depending on the season (they vary here), some of them are bound to do well.... something about not having all of your eggs in the one basket.
The other thing is that I always let everything that is possible go to seed. I don't pull plants out until I need the spot. This seems to protect the soil from the sun (especially in summer) and bring millions of different insects of different kinds. Some I recognise as good guys, but some I really don't know. If you leave things til you need the spot, the whole thing starts to look like a "cottage garden" , there are no places for "weeds" and the plants seem happier. I do watch them a lot.
So, I do rotate things a bit, but I don't have those neat rows of various things that follow each other in the correct order.
I"m just not a perfectionist, I suppose. I do things just "good enough".
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