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Re: crop rotation

  • Subject: Re: [cg] crop rotation
  • From: Pat_Elazar@cwb.ca
  • Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 13:22:25 -0500

Noreen asked a simple question that calls for some complicated answers. I
do not disagree with anything that Ali, Adam or Tom said, but I will muddy
the waters some:

"Mother Nature" rotates in space- by species interplanting on a vast scale
(think rain forest)- and over time by favouring a succession of wild plants
that thrive under specific soil chemistry & biology conditions then are
replaced by others as conditions change (think meadow). I mean geological
time here, not a 5-year cycle. Take a picture of a meadow & come back in
100 years & the plant populations will probably be very different (unless
there is a perfect equilibrium).

Large, conventional farmers grow mono-cultures that are at war with the
most fundament natural law of entropy which favours more diversity- not
less. So unwanted species (weeds) & pests are natures way of "remedying"
the blight. Some traditional growers like Balinese terrace farmers, imitate
nature by planting 100's of species in 10' x 20' shifting plots that they
harvest for a while, then fallow for several years. These would include
root staples, greens, vegetables & even some short-lived fruits like
bananas or papayas.

In my own gardening tradition (Israeli or Middle-eastern), we plant
deciduous nut trees, smaller fruit trees, evergreen citrus fruits, herbs &
flowers along with vegetables in our permanent oasis-like gardens. These
interplantings give maximum different habitats to predator populations, as
well as variety of branching angles for beneficial birds and attract
pollinators. Sort of rotation in time, space & dimension too.

Back in north America, some gardeners rotate and some dont. Your yields &
pest/disease loads will tell you if you need to do something differently. I
personally DO rotate crops pretty strictly in my 100'x30' allotment. I also
green manure a portion every year. In my home garden of raised beds, I
rotate some, but I mulch & dress with compost more, interplant and grow
catch crops or green manure there too.

I dont rotate my tomatoes though. Here in Winnipeg (500mi NW of
Minneapolis-thats not a typo-) I can only successfully grow the heirloom
varieties that I like against the brick facing on the south side of my
house. I'm trying to develop a kind of permaculture interplant there too
with Echinacia, oats, chives & red clover, but thats probably not complex
enough. I'm still working on this one....


                                                                                                                 
                      "Noreen Warnock"                                                                           
                      <noreen.warnock@gmail.c        To:       "community_garden@mallorn.com"                    
                      om>                             <community_garden@mallorn.com>                             
                      Sent by:                       cc:                                                         
                      community_garden-admin@        Subject:  [cg] crop rotation                                
                      mallorn.com                                                                                
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 
                      04/12/2005 06:34 AM                                                                        
                      Please respond to                                                                          
                      "Noreen Warnock"                                                                           
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 




Dear Friends,
 Should gardeners who have small field-style plots -- 10 x 10, 10 x 20, 20
 x
30, etc.-- rotate crops each year? Some in our community of gardeners say
"yes" and others "no". Is there a general guideline someone can point me to
regarding this issue?
  Your help with this is appreciated.

Noreen Warnock


Noreen Warnock
Project Director
Greater Columbus Foodshed Project
A program of Simply Living
128 Clinton Heights Avenue
Columbus, OH 43202
614-447-2868
noreen.warnock@gmail.com
www.greatercolumbusfoodshedproject.org<
http://www.greatercolumbusfoodshedproj
ect.org>



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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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