Square foot gardening - crop rotation?
Trucker Posts: 14
in Fruit & veg
I'm just completing my first year of square foot gardening in a 3x6 foot raised bed. Had lots of success with radish, garlic, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, courgette. Parsnips & leeks are still in. My question is whether crop rotation matters in such a small space? I'm wanting to plant onions & garlic soon and wondering if I need to move the squares around compared to this year? Or whether to add crops to the same squares as before?
Rotation is all about protecting your crops from disease and avoiding soil depletion of essential nutrients. I'm not experienced enough to know about how far a disease could spread in soil but I'd be tempted to move them to another square anyway. It certainly can't do any harm.
Onion family in particular need to be moved around on at least a three year rotation to avoid Onion rot. Brassica family (cabbages etc) are also best rotated to avoid club root. Both are fungal diseases, growing them in a fresh place means that the reservoir of infection is reduced.
Rotate your crops whether a small box or large garden, it reduces the risk of disease being carried to the same crop and in some cases adds nutrients to the soil. All legumes, peas beans of every description will add to the soil as the roots add nodules of nitrogen to the soil which is why I would cut off all the top growth and leave the roots until Spring. Brassicas I would add a handful of lime to the soil, grow the cabbages etc. in pots then when you have a good root system plant them out in ground not used for them for a while, this eliminates club root if done properly. The Allium family, onions leeks garlic need to be moved to a fresh area of your plot. salad stuff can be grown between most of these vegetable plantings, you will get a crop while the main crop grows. The size does not really matter as you plant to suit the space available, little and often for small spaces with a large garden then planting can be expanded provided you have ways of preserving the excess. If using pots or containers then use fresh compost each time, the old stuff will be devoid of nutrients and could carry disease. Raised beds add good compost and if possible leave over winter sowing in spring, if you wish to sow early crops then cover with fresh compost with some granular fertiliser added, bone meal, Blood Fish and Bone, or if you have it your own well rotted compost and rake it in. Hope this helps.
Aam only able to have a three year rotation, but it works pretty well, start cabbages in seed tray then to pots, and leeks, onion sets start in pots, as well as broad and runner beans, peas putting three seeds to a pot, using JI number 2 compost, they then have a good start, no check on planting out into the garden,