Crop rotation and companion planting for Potager Y 2013 season…

Weather is becoming more pleasant these days…
In the mornings, the thermometer dips to about 1 to 2 degrees…
The mercury then shoots up to about 10 degrees on a nice, fine day…

Yes, it is time to start some seeds…
Corn, peanuts, soy beans, bitter gourd, pumpkin, okra, long beans, winged beans, loofa, and cucumber comes to mind…

I have been fooling around with the garden for about 6 or 7 years now…
Each year, I have tried my hand in crop rotation and companion planting…
Lots of failures, some successes, but always lots of fun…

Through fooling around with the plants, I have sort of, arrived at a nice combination of plants to rotate… 

First, a little explanation on the physical attributes of the potager…
The size of the whole plot is about 260 square meters…
The left side is sloping, and is filled with fruit trees… 
The right side is flat, and this forms the main part of the vegetable garden…

If you’d click on the image above (not to scale, of course, considering the amateur in me), you can see that our potager is divided into 4 sections…
The orientation is that, the far end is the south…

For practical purposes, we label the sections South-West (purple), South-East (red), North-East (green), and North-West (orange)…
Between the East (left side) sections and the West (right side) sections, we have a wide walk path whereby a wheelbarrow can easily pass through…

Each section has 6 vegetable beds (or its equivalent, size-wise)…
Between the vegetable beds, we have a path to walk on while working on the plants…
Each vegetable bed is about one meter by two meters…
And, all of them manually dug up by yours truly…

The two western sections are very nicely sliced up, with 6 beds each…
The NE section has 5 beds, and the size is approximately equivalent to that of the 6 beds…
The SE section has 3 beds, each about one meter by four meters…

In the center of the potager lies the permanent bed…
We plant asparagus, Chinese chives, myoga ginger, saffron, and wild strawberries….
These plants are not rotated… 

The arrangement above provides the foundation to ‘double’ rotate the crops on a 3 or 5-year cycle, depending on the type of crops…
Specifically, asters and mustard greens run on a 3-year rotation while the rest, 5 years.
And ‘double’ rotation in the sense that, crops rotate along the 4 sections, and within each section, we rotate the crops amongst the vegetable beds…
Quite a bit like the earth rotating around the sun, and at the same time, the moon rotating around the earth?

I have grouped and combined the crops as follows, roughly based on their ‘families’…

SW section: Beans (Peanut, soy bean, snap pea, fava bean) and Asters (Spinach, swiss chard, ‘makchoy’, lettuce, chrysanthemum)

SE section:  Nightshades (Tomato, eggplant, potato, chilli) and Greens (Komatsu-na, shangtung-sai, mamba, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chingen-sai)

NW section: Grass (Corn), Gourds (Cucumber, loofa, pumpkin, zucchini), and Greens (Kale, rocket, vitamin-na, aku-sai, ta-sai, radish)

NE section: Roots (Onion, carrot, garlic), and ‘mixed’, for crops that belong to different families (Amaranth, basil, kangkong, moroeya, malabar spinach, okra)

Along with these plants, we have cosmos, marigold, zinnia, borage, Korean perrilla, red and green shiso everywhere, coming in as companions and magnets for beneficial insects.
All of these plants self-seed, except the cosmos, which I hope will do likewise soon…

Each year, the plants are rotated anti-clockwise…
And within each section, I rotate the plants as I see fit (potatoes and beans are good examples)…

Up until now, I have planned the crops on the basis of two planting seasons (spring and autumn)…
After a few tries, I realize that the autumn crops have too little time to gain sufficient size to withstand the cold…
So, this year, I am going to plant as if we have only one planting season (spring, that is)…

In another part of the property, which is not in the picture, we plant long beans, winged beans, watermelon, Japanese yam, sweet potatoes, and more of tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins, bitter gourd, and loofa…. 
 
And the fruits… perhaps on another post?

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About Lrong

Gardening, I adore... Photography, I cherish... Scuba diving, I fancy... Shakuhachi, I relish... and barefoot walking, I revel in...
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10 Responses to Crop rotation and companion planting for Potager Y 2013 season…

  1. Robbie Palm says:

    The detailed rotation planning is what makes it all work( I admire your rotation chart), but this year I am running out of sunny spaces for my nightshades. I am procrastinating and you have motivated me to start today to figure out where all my seedlings will go etc. I have things that need to go out in a few weeks. You mentioned you grow Malabar spinach. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for how to use it besides a summer green? Do you fix it a special way? Robbie:-) I will check back later for your fruit post.:-)

  2. Lrong Lim says:

    Hi Robbie… I am lucky that we get the full sun for most of the beds in the garden… as for the Malabar spinach, we use it as a vegetable as we do with other leafy greens… we mainly do soups or stir fry with it…

  3. rainfield61 says:

    Just like we have a right brain and left brain.And we keep different things at different corners.And we refresh frequently.

  4. Lrong Lim says:

    Refresh… reload… reboot…

  5. Stephanie says:

    My eyes were on the saffron. I don't think I have taken enough of it to recall the taste ;-( I am sure they add much flavour to your cooking 😀

  6. Lrong Lim says:

    I foresee that the harvest should be more substantial this coming season… I just took the bulbs out and re-planted them…

  7. Mom on Blog says:

    I admire your commitment to crop rotation. I start the season doing so but when plants don't grow as well as I want, I move them during the season. Invariably they end up in the same location as the year before………Do you get snow where you live? I notice you have olive trees in your diagram. Admire your fruit orchard. Also wondered about the type of potatoes you have- are they different from western potatoes?

  8. Lrong Lim says:

    Hi, and welcome to my blog… oh, the plants ending up in the same location? Oh oh…We have very little snow in our place… they melt as soon as they stop snowing… We have only two types of olive trees: Manzanillo and Nevadillo blanco… the fruit trees are still rather small… some of them are beginning to fruit… Potatoes… in spring, we grow a breed called 'Dan-shaku', which traces its roots to the Irish Cobbler… for the autumn season we grow what the Japanese call 'Dejima', which was developed by the farming authorities in Nagasaki… both taste similar to me… sort of like, 'powdery'…

  9. ¸.•°♡♡Passei para saudá-lo.Bom fim de semana!Beijinhos.♡°•.¸¸.•°♡♡°•.¸

  10. Lrong Lim says:

    Thank you very much for your kind comments…

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