The start of daylight savings is a great time to rotate crops.

Gosh it was so hard to sort out my crop rotation – I nearly worked up a sweat!  Actually no – it was so simple.  A couple of years ago I came up with a three pronged crop rotation system that gets all the crops to be moved along, while gaining or creating value for the plants before and after it.  I think I have got it as close to right as possible, because crop rotation is quite a confusing thing to get your head around.

Currently the pea bed, but soon to be the tomato bed.
Currently the pea bed, but soon to be the tomato bed.

Once I figured it out, I set it up so I would never have to do the thinking part again!  Phew.  The garden is made up of a row of 2m x 2m beds:  herbs (permanent bed), leafy greens, cukes and melons, potatoes, rhubarb and artichokes (permanent bed) and corn.  Then there are four long 1m x 5m beds in the middle with tomatoes, onions, peas and zukes and squash.  Then the back row is 2m x 2m beds with brassicas, salad, carrots, peppers, beans and odds and sods.

So each of the three groups have little signs in them to say what the crop is and all I need to do is take each sign and move it along one in a clockwise direction.  No thinking required.  Crops will never be in the same bed for four, five and six years.  The legumes nourish the ground before hungry plants, onions clean up after tomatoes, carrots and spuds make the ground loose, the solanaceae crops – tomatoes, potatoes and peppers are in difference cycles and there was other logical reasons that went into the plan but to be honest I can’t remember what they were – but it works and I don’t need to think and my crops are rotated easily in five minutes.

What to do when you have too many eggs and loads of passion fruit - floating islands with a passion fruit sauce.  Yummo!
What to do when you have too many eggs and loads of passion fruit – floating islands with a passion fruit sauce. Yummo!

I had a bit of a dilemma as there are still winter crops in the garden and then new spring crops have been planted or the beds are prepared and so I wasn’t sure when to move my signs, because either way a lot of them would be wrong.  So I dithered and dallied and the greenhouse begun to fill up with loads of healthy seedlings that will be able to go out into the garden in a month.  Then the calendar offered me the perfect opportunity to start a seasonal tradition that will take more thinking out of my crop rotation.  Tonight the clocks go forward for the start of daylight savings – so what better time to start a new season with a new season.

This is a strange time of year in the garden as while there is still some digging still to be done, and Hubby the Un-Gardener is on to that, most of the seeds have been sown and so it is all strangely quiet, just a bit of watering and a bit of weeding, but nothing too much.  It is almost like the calm before the storm – just waiting.

This is probably a bad thing!
This is probably a bad thing!

Talking about storms – we had another one a couple of days after the last one and it blew down a tree.  I’m not sure if I should be upset that we have a hole in our hedge of sorts or be stoked that we actually had a tree big enough to blow down in a storm.  When we moved here there was nothing that could be called a tree.  A few shrubs, but nothing full grown.  But the tree landed across a drain and resting on next doors electric fence so it had to be moved quite quickly or the cows would escape into our place and wreak havoc.   So I gave the kids a saw each and told them if they want pocket money for the school holidays then they have to move the tree.  To be honest they did do it but with a little help from Hubby the Un-Gardener who invariably got a zap from the electric fence!

Nothing like hard work to learn the value of a dollar
Nothing like hard work to learn the value of a dollar

This September weather is so floody and blowy and it makes gardening hard, but it hasn’t got long to go, let’s hope October is friendlier!

How can you dig over a bed when it fills with water?
How can you dig over a bed when it fills with water?

Come again soon – spring is such a great time – I’ll do a tour of the greenhouse for you to see what I have growing.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

10 thoughts on “The start of daylight savings is a great time to rotate crops.

  1. Wow, I just can’t imagine ground that wet. Getting zapped is no fun. I’ve never been hit by a hot fence but I’ve gotten a few zaps at work now and then. You know it’s bad when you see a flash of light and get left dazed… that can’t be good for you.

    1. Hi Keith. Soggy soil is one of the joys of living in what was once a drained swamp. They drained the swamp in about 1886, which was about 40 years or so after they first started settling down here. Imagine that – a whole country to explore and they drain a swamp! But here we are and it grows great veggies.
      Poor Hubby the Un-Gardener is always getting zapped by electric fences – normally rescuing things like plastic greenhouse panels in storms, or pet goats on the wrong side of the fence!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. This post is so important Sarah that I am going to pin it in my sustainable permaculture board! So much info, so little time, I am so dissorganised compared to you! I am only glad that I can learn from you and that you share your wonderful helpful hints so willingly. I almost fainted when you said that it was daylight savings but that’s next week for us. I wondered why my brain was waking me up an hour earlier, now I know. Maybe I should listen to my brain more often? 😉

    1. Thanks Fran. When I sat down and went through all the details of the crop rotation ideal, it really confused me, as it can be quite complicated, and I never really wanted to have to think about again. So the little sign system works really well, and having a mono-culture system with my beds, which also means I can treat each bed with the ideal conditions for each crop. I guess this is were I am blessed to have enough space to do what I want, rather than try and cram it all into a standard suburban backyard.
      Once we get properly reacquainted with the time shift of daylight savings – the benefits of being able to work late will really make a difference. Enjoy your longer evenings when they come. Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. I get up at 4am so that I get plenty of time to read my RSS Feed Reader and satisfy my Pinterest addiction before the rest of the family get up and the real world kicks in and I am finding it hard to stay up past 8.30 at the moment but Daylight Savings kicks in and I am falling asleep on the couch at 7 😉

  3. I know what you mean about getting your head around crop rotation, mine often get’s a bit jumbled as I squeeze extra plants in spaces and then stand back and look and think **** that’s messed up the rotation plans again!
    I hope the water has drained by now and you can get the digging done!

    1. Hi Claire, There are always things in the garden that you know you ‘should’ do like the crop rotation, and not putting weeds on compost piles and not planting too early or too late – but there is nothing like giving it a whirl, to see how things turn out – and most things really aren’t that dire and I wonder sometimes if we get too hung up on the rules.
      The weather has turned lovely – the cold sting seems to have retreated back to the depths of winter and the garden is beginning to shape up nicely and my lovely Hubby the Un-Gardener is getting a lot of digging done!. I can’t wait for the warmth of the long summer days. Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. You have made me think that I should put some thought into the rotating we do. The most I think about is if the corn will shade something that needs light. I might have to think about soil nourishing and such. Oh so much more work now that I have you to learn from. Ha ha! Thanks for the great blogs.

    1. Hi Lucinda. Trying to get your head around providing the best gardening conditions can be a complete nightmare sometimes because each plant has different needs. But the good news is – no matter how many times you try – you still get something to eat so it’s not too big a deal. Luckily you can learn from my mistakes – hopefully they work on opposite sides of the world! Cheers Sarah : o )

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