Saturday, August 21, 2010

Companion Planting and Crop Rotation

Well, let's pick up where we left off the last time. Your raised bed(s) have been filled and are waiting for seeds, plants or seedlings. Before your head explodes trying to figure out what to plant, there are some things that should be considered.

Companion planting is a theory that certain plants should be planting alongside others to help control pests, keep nutrients in the soil, along with others, to make sure maximize the crop productivity.

A simple online search can find companion foods for others that you may be looking into. There are many charts out there that include the more popular vegetables and fruits. 

Here a basic chart I found: Click Here (pdf file)

The second major thing to take into consideration is the theory behind crop rotation. By doing this, you will help enrich your soil and help keep diseases away. In order to do this, we must remember that all vegetables belong to a family. There are also many charts out there that show the different families. 

Here are a few:
One , Two (.doc file), Three

I know this may seem really confusing and I am still working on understanding it myself. The basic gist is that the same things should not be planted in the same area for more than a year or two. If this is done, all of a certain nutrient in the soil may be depleted and not available for the next planting. The following season should have something else in that same spot that replenishes that missing nutrient. 

For example: Tomatoes use up the Nitrogen in the soil. The following season, snow peas can be planted in the same spot to replace that Nitrogen.

Well, this does it for this post. I hope I did not confuse you too badly. I know it seems like a daunting task but once you get it down it should not be too difficult. Chances are that after a few seasons, you will have it down. Something that would help immensely is to keep track of what is planted in the separate beds / areas. 

If anybody out there can help me/us understand these better, it would be greatly appreciated. After looking at many forums, boards and websites that sometimes have conflicting information is too much.

As always, comments / questions / constructive criticism is always appreciated.


ps: I found this page that shows a planting calendar for the entire year. It is a great resource.
Click Here

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