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Planning garden to allow for crop rotation Toplef10Planning garden to allow for crop rotation 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Planning garden to allow for crop rotation I22gcj10Planning garden to allow for crop rotation 14dhcg10

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Planning garden to allow for crop rotation

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Planning garden to allow for crop rotation Empty Planning garden to allow for crop rotation

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie Tue Sep 27, 2022 7:53 pm

So I'm at the very beginning of my SFG journey.  The end goal is three 4x4 boxes, probably on the ground (although I have a bad back, so I may raise them as Mel suggests in ANSFG).  This will take at least 3 years, I'm only going to make one box at most this year.  To allow for crop rotation I'm thinking all three should be 12" deep, otherwise I'm going to be limited in my choices of where I can put e.g. long carrots.  Is that right?  What have others done about this?  I'm thinking, if all our boxes should be 12" deep then why does Mel talk so much about 6" ones -- am I misunderstanding something?
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Post  OhioGardener Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:09 pm

KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: To allow for crop rotation I'm thinking all three should be 12" deep, otherwise I'm going to be limited in my choices of where I can put e.g. long carrots.  Is that right?  What have others done about this? 

Not necessary to have the beds 12" (although all of mine 18" high). You can use Top Hats on the squares where you will be planting the carrots, Daikons, etc.

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t22982-sfg-top-hats

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Post  markqz Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:34 pm

Not everybody raises root vegetables. In any event, the real limitation for rotation is that so many plants are from the same plant families (brassicas and legumes predominate) and that the taller plants need to be in the back. Lettuces are short, so are pretty much always in the front. Cauliflower is tall, so is almost always in the back.

An additional "problem" for you (like me) is that you can grow things all year round. So that makes it harder to know in advance when you'll be harvesting a tall plant up front in order to allow light in further back. That is, you have a mix of plant heights at any given time.

For myself, I rotate plants when I can, but use whatever squares I have.
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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie Tue Sep 27, 2022 9:07 pm

OhioGardener wrote:
KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: To allow for crop rotation I'm thinking all three should be 12" deep, otherwise I'm going to be limited in my choices of where I can put e.g. long carrots.  Is that right?  What have others done about this? 

Not necessary to have the beds 12" (although all of mine 18" high). You can use Top Hats on the squares where you will be planting the carrots, Daikons, etc.

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t22982-sfg-top-hats

Wow, what a fabulous idea!!  Planning garden to allow for crop rotation 679265  But what do you do with the extra soil (sorry, MM) once the carrots are out?  Or does the top hat just stay in place and you put some other long thing in the square?

Mark, I get what you're saying...but I read somewhere about having 4 beds and moving the plant types between them each year, very simple and 'mechanical'.  I think 3 beds will produce about right for me eventually, so I was thinking of 3/4 of a bed for each 'stage'.  Is this not really practical?
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Planning garden to allow for crop rotation Empty Re: Planning garden to allow for crop rotation

Post  sanderson Tue Sep 27, 2022 10:18 pm

With SFG, crop rotation is not important.  We keep feeding the MM and plants with more and more compost each time we plant.

The exception is if there is a soil disease where certain plants can't be replanted there for 2 or 3 years.  That is very rare.

Table top beds are wonderful for bad backs.  Mine are 2' tall and it is actually a pleasure to walk around them, touching this plant and that plant.  It also means the plants are tall enough to see when they get a disease or a pest.

My top hats were only 3 1/2 " tall, giving a total height of 9 1/2 to 10" depth of MM.  That's plenty for most root crops.  There are half-length carrot and parsnip varieties.  You can remove the top hats and spread out the MM or put the MM in a pot for an invasive herb like mints or oregano (for year around gardening climates).  Put a piece of weed fabric in the bottom to keep in the MM.

Note: photo taken before drip lines and grid replaced.

Planning garden to allow for crop rotation Top_ha11

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Post  wargarden2017 Wed Sep 28, 2022 1:11 am

i think you all are confusing three to four different issues
that should discussed   separately . 

crop rotation, succession cropping, top hatting
and shading from taller. 

crop rotation, except disease vectors it is not really in
needed square for garden as sanderson mentioned 
because you are adding compost before replanting.

As for tall  plant shading others behind. 
there are way to use this to grow cool loving crops in 
 hotter temp  or to control day length so crops do not 
bolt because that sensitivity. 
succession cropping is more of how square
 foot gardening does to shift crops around over time. 
 

I would love discuss these topics  more but some of them
could get quite technical both in biology and geometry.
solar angles on horizon   volumes  they create in shadows.
But we would be getting in to some serious calculus and
4 dimensional physics that would be tough to discuss
do to the limitations of forum software.
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Planning garden to allow for crop rotation Empty Re: Planning garden to allow for crop rotation

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie Wed Sep 28, 2022 1:34 am

sanderson wrote:With SFG, crop rotation is not important.  We keep feeding the MM and plants with more and more compost each time we plant.

The exception is if there is a soil disease where certain plants can't be replanted there for 2 or 3 years.  That is very rare.

Table top beds are wonderful for bad backs.  Mine are 2' tall and it is actually a pleasure to walk around them, touching this plant and that plant.  It also means the plants are tall enough to see when they get a disease or a pest.

My top hats were only 3 1/2 " tall, giving a total height of 9 1/2 to 10" depth of MM.  That's plenty for most root crops.  There are half-length carrot and parsnip varieties.  You can remove the top hats and spread out the MM or put the MM in a pot for an invasive herb like mints or oregano (for year around gardening climates).  Put a piece of weed fabric in the bottom to keep in the MM.

OK, so I can stop worrying about rotation, that's great Smile 

Can I ask how high the tops of your gardens are off the ground?  With my lack of experience I'm struggling to get my head around the necessary dimensions of things.  Wondering about maybe just putting the first box on the ground and seeing how I go, after all there is so little work required with SFG perhaps I'll be fine.  My back is seriously touchy, though.  But I wonder about the effect of not having worms be able to do their thing in the boxes.  Although I did think about buying some!

Your boxes look gorgeous -- I'm guessing you oiled the wood?
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Post  sanderson Wed Sep 28, 2022 4:31 am

My beds are 2' high, which is a good compromise.  I can sit on my purple throne to plant or thin and stand to tend and harvest.  I'm 73, only 5'3", and had an L5-S1 synovial cyst removed last summer, so it was serendipitous that the beds were already table tops.  The 2' height was chosen for lumber economy.  Four (4) legs can be cut from an 8' piece. Wink  For beds with 8"x8"x16" cement block supports and 2"x8" lumber for beds, plus 3/4" plywood or double "cementy" cement board bottoms, they are also around 2' tall.  I've been experimenting with different designs and materials since 2014.

Planning garden to allow for crop rotation Garde117

Regarding worms, I used to have worm tubes or hotels in the beds for kitchen scrapes to feed the little red wiggler composting worms. (Eisenia fetida)  You may not have that species or it may not be allowed, but common garden worms also work in the beds.  You only need a few (or 2) for breeding.  A young member was the first person to post the design of large PVC pipes with a few holes, topped with caps or lids, to feed the worms.  Stay away from those jumping worms!  "Jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) are an invasive species native to eastern Asia."

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie Wed Sep 28, 2022 6:48 pm

Thank you so much for all of this!  It's really inspiring seeing how you have it all laid out, and the details are really helpful.  I made a stand for a bicycle trailer years ago out of PVC pipe and loved the worm tubes post, I noticed it yesterday.  And good to know that wooden legs will hold up the weight, I had been wondering if I'd need to fill in two sides for strength.  Thinking perhaps mine should be higher, so I can sit straight on (I slipped discs L5-S1 and S1-S2 eight years ago) but if your wooden legs work then it should be fine at a greater height.

I've saved your photo so I can refer back to it Smile

Does everyone pretty much end up needing to have worms in their boxes?  I was wondering if perhaps they're not necessary given what an ideal growing medium MM is.
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Post  markqz Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:08 pm

KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: I made a stand for a bicycle trailer years ago out of PVC pipe and loved the worm tubes post,
Not to digress too much, but what is a stand for a bicycle trailer? I've got bicycle trailer (was a Burley) that my daughter I put a nominally useful flatbed in.
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Post  sanderson Wed Sep 28, 2022 8:51 pm

KiwiSFGnewbie wrote:. . . Does everyone pretty much end up needing to have worms in their boxes?  I was wondering if perhaps they're not necessary given what an ideal growing medium MM is.
Regarding worms in beds set on the ground, "Build it and they will come." BB\'s happy face

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie Wed Sep 28, 2022 9:43 pm

Oh, I'm sure they will Smile   But I was more wondering, how necessary it really is in SFG?  If I do tabletop boxes then I'd have to buy the worms and would rather not if I don't have to!
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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie Wed Sep 28, 2022 10:46 pm

markqz wrote:
KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: I made a stand for a bicycle trailer years ago out of PVC pipe and loved the worm tubes post,
Not to digress too much, but what is a stand for a bicycle trailer? I've got bicycle trailer (was a Burley) that my daughter I put a nominally useful flatbed in.

Have PM'd you Smile
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