Crop Rotation. Next year. Farming = Friends

26 10 2008

This past week, we planted a variety of alliums for harvest next year.   Prior to planting, we had to make a decision on where their location would be for next year.  Their placement was crucial in understanding the role of crop rotation on our farm.

There was nothing short of random and arbitrary placement of plants this year.  There was some order, but it was minimal.  It was spontaneous, it worked for us, it was good.  It can be better though.  From the randomness we were able to observe what systems we could apply next year to limit variables, and improve efficiency.  Crop rotation is proper land stewardship, but our understanding of it was, and still is, limited.  We know what it means.  But its application, and exactly how it is going to be used in our particular situation it what we are deciding on as we go.

Total lack of perfection did give us one thing, a starting point.  From that point, we can and will evolve as a farm as we continue to gain experience through practice and observations.  So we know where we planted (most) of our alliums this year.  The basic idea of crop rotation is that you do not plant the same type of crop in the same place for consequitive years. We proceeded in choosing a location where we had not planted alliums before.

This wound up being the southern most rows in our southern most field.  We only have two fields, North field and South field.  We chose this spot because alliums have not been planted there, and it had had most of its previous crops cleared away.  After decisions were made, we finally got to planting.

We planted garlic.  Oh so much wonderful sweet garlic.  We obtained all of our garlic from a small local producer.  He provided us with a wealth of information on everything garlic.  From variety types he selected to fit our specific needs, to planting instructions.  The garlic was not any cheaper than seed catalogs, but the beautiful drive to get there, the learning experience, and the fact that we supported local farmers made this purchase entirely worth it.

We recieved 17# of garlic of 5 different varieties, most are soft neck varieties.  The garlic bulbs needed to be broken up.  The cloves were then given a hot water bath to ward away any fungal, bacterial, or other life that would have been harmful to yields.  Popping them into the ground was quick.  Gabe and Ben had lots of practice planting garlic because they helped another of our friendly local farmer seed 10 – 200 ft beds.

Leeks were also planted.  Once again, local farmers rule.  Another farming friend we met through farming, dropped off some extra leek starts they ordered from a catalog. They had ordered too much, and they were kind enough to donate their leftovers to us.  We put them in the ground.

Lastly, we bought some shallots and walking onions.  We planted them too!

Once again, from another person, an awesome person, we received a bunch of sunchokes that she had dug up from her garden for us.  Today, before I conceived of, then wrote this blog, I randomly planted the sunchokes in a place that they could possibly grow.

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2 responses

30 10 2008
Jared

Granted I have no practical experience in crop rotation, I might be able to help with a little theoretical knowledge. I’m not sure how much you guys know, but here’s what I have to offer: It would be a good idea to google the crops you are planting and the ones you are considering. Try to find out what minerals they take from the ground, which ones they add, and in what proportions. This is key because if your crops are too similar the rotation has little difference than no rotation. Also, it is a shame that you only have two fields, as letting an area lay fallow as part of the rotation is also extremely good. Fertilizing can also help big time. I assume you guys are composting and have access to manure. If you go the manure route do a little at a time and obviously it will SMELL. My parent once used some from a local farmer friend and had great crops in the garden but also pissed of the whole neighborhood with the stink. Good luck.

Jared

27 01 2009
Organic Gardening - Getting Started | Organic Gardening And Green Lifestyle | Garden Mandy Dot Com

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