seasonal preparations

Crop Rotations and Plans 2017

Crop planning is one of my favorite seasonal preparations.  It is part day-dreaming about the new and exciting things that will be tried during a season and another part problem-solving.

Problem-solving?

Well, yes…

Things to consider – what to plant, crop rotations, soil needs, and overall spacing (will what I WANT to grow even fit in the garden plan?).

Fall planted mesclun

Fall planted mesclun

Deciding what to plant is always the super fun part.  All those STUNNING seed catalogs that stuff the mailbox in January…glossy, perfect pictures of beautiful produce.  Love it.  But…it is easy to look at all those gorgeous photos and get carried away.  I’m a biologist at heart and am driven to experiment, but I also have to remember to go with what I know people enjoy and with what has proven to work in our setting.

With our raised planting beds, we are able to practice bio-intensive plantings.  That basically means we try to utilize all the space offered in the planting bed to maximize production.

Want a good and informative read?  

Check out Jean-Martin Fortier’s Book “The Market Gardener.”

We also concentrate our soil amendments to the planting area.  No more compost lost to the pathways or beyond the raised bed.  Focusing the application is more efficient and cost effective!

Crop rotations become easier with each season when you start with a master plan.  Flexibility in farming is a must, but having a basic idea from the get-go is needed to guide decisions throughout the seasons.

There is a lot of information out there about crop rotations and strategies.  The bottom line is to not plant the same crop or crop family in the same spot year after year.  Crop rotations give the soil a “break” and interrupts some pest cycles.  The crop rotation plan we try to mirror is Eliot Coleman‘s eight year plan:

8 year rotation plan from Eliot Coleman

8 year rotation plan from Eliot Coleman

So…with Spring around the corner, we are ready.

  1. We have our seeds ordered and seed starting is underway!
    Onion seeds

    Onion seeds

    2. Our crop rotation is set letting us finalize our crop plan.

    3. The garden is mapped for 2017!

And so begins our 2017 market season.  We hope you join us for this year’s market journey!

Putting the garden to bed

Here is what the garden looks like right now…

Bye bye beans

Bye bye beans

We stopped our plantings early in order to whip things into shape. The weeds were mighty this year, and rarely does Mother Nature cooperate in the spring to allow for proper bed prep (meaning spring showers mean little actual garden work).

We’ve a new design in mind for our raised beds and lots of hopes to make things better and more efficient for next year.

Tillage

Tillage

It’s fun to think about all these things…now it’s time to make it happen.

Stay tuned to see what develops!

Fall prep

Worked hard the passed few days to prepare for fall….

Fall prep

Fall prep

After some tillage, these items were transplanted or direct seeded: lettuces, kales, Asian mustards, Swiss chards, Tokyo Bekana, Japanese collards, bok choys, tatsoi, salad turnips, radishes (D’avingon, Easter egg, Helios), mustard mesclun, lettuce mesclun, arugula, and bunching onions. Add to that diakon radish, Spanish radish, spinach and carrots planted today. Yay!