Crop rotation

Is a common cultural practice where the same plot has a different crop planted on it in successive years. Crop rotation uses biology to plan land use for the best benefit of the crops on the land. This is done to decrease pest load in field and other benefits for the crops.

House bed

I want the bed length to be dividable by four because that is the time span I want to have for this bed's crop rotation. That is, I sub-divide the bed into four parts and plant four different crops in each subplot. Each year I plant the crops in the same order but I shift them over to the next sub-plot over. In my case the rotation moves east.

the weed covered be at the beginning of the season

Why four? It's rather arbitrary to be honest. I could have chosen any number of plots or I could plant the whole thing in tomatoes every year. However, three is not very good because it does not divide evenly into 28. What to do with a 1'x6' area?! This is important to keep in mind when you layout subplots. This will be covered in a future article about crop rotation.

The ultimate goal is to have four plots growing these crops in the warm season:

 

  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Peanuts*
  3. Sesame*
  4. Tomatoes/Chiles/Eggplant (Nightshade family)

*These may grow marginally here and may be removed from rotation if they don't work out.

rollover image illastrating how the bed crop rotation works

Each would get their own sub-plot each year. Future work will try to find a cropping system that can grow in the Fall/Winter season and be harvested before the warm season. I might have to settle for a cover crop (another future article).

the same bed after the weeds have been chopped down with a hoe

Current status. This has been a cold wet spring. I have not made much progress in this bed other than prep. I have tried to propagate the sweet potatoes but seem to have failed. I was too busy to get seed for sesame and peanuts this year so that will have to wait till next year. I hope to buy seedlings to test the site for tomatoes and chilies. I have grown these crops here before but I intend a bio-intensive planting ultimately.

after the dead weeds have been raked off all but one subplot

I did get the bed prepared, no easy task. The last picture shows the dead weeds have been raked off sub-plots 1-3 and piled on plot four. I did this because of a USDA pamphlet I read (will try to find a link later) showing better yield in tomatoes grown in mulch rather than black plastic. This is a modification I'm adding to the bio-intensive planting. More on this later.

 

 

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