Old Gardening - Page 3 of 4 - How to grow a traditional organic garden

Old Gardening

How to grow a traditional organic garden

Example of Crop Rotation

Crop Rotation for Small Vegetable Gardens

Where many plants grow on small pieces of land, it is best to use the shortest possible crop rotation, namely the three-field one for annual crops, example of such crop rotation:

  • The first year – on land heavily fertilized with manure in autumn: pumpkin, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, leek, celery, spinach
  • Year two – on land fed with compost in spring (in the absence of compost we give manure in autumn): Brussels sprouts, beetroot, onion, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce; without addition of compost: bean, swede, parsley, radish
  • Third year – peas, soy beans, beans and various vegetables from seedlings

In addition, there should be a separate field for vegetables and berry plants that remain in one place for several years, e.g. rhubarb, sorrel, chives, asparagus, strawberry. Once the crop is finished on a particular site, the crop is moved to another field.

Traditional Crop Rotation

For Starters, the most Voracious Plants

In the traditional practice, the proper crop rotation is usually arranged first and foremost for the nutritional needs of the plants. This ensures that the nutrients supplied in the form of fertilizers or already present in the soil are used properly and as evenly as possible. This approach also refers to the oldest tradition of crop rotation. It is characterized by great simplicity and has some ecological advantages, although it is much better and healthier for the soil and the plants to crop rotation to be significantly extended, even to 6-10 years and more. In the first field, fertilized well with compost or manure, preferably already slightly composted, the most demanding plants are planted in terms of the content and availability of nutrients in the soil, including usually moisture.

Then you plan to sow or plant plants that are less demanding in terms of nutrients, including those that should not be allowed to enter the freshly-fertilized field because then more pests develop on them, such as carrots. Finally, plants that do not require too much nutrient in the soil will end up in the field. In the following year this cycle is repeated.

Crop Rotation Planning – How to do it?

Dividing the garden into several pieces 

Usually, when planning the crop rotation, we divide the field into several smaller pieces – depending on how many years of rotation we want to introduce. Then we determine the order of sown plants on these fields. In such a plan it is also worthwhile to include a place for growing perennial crops. e.g. strawberries, strawberries, flowers. 

It is also worthwhile to initially, at least from time to time, provide for the cultivation of grains which will play an important sanitary role in the crop rotation. It is also advisable to provide for the cultivation of butterfly plants, which enrich the soil with nitrogen. Then we start to determine the exact sequence of plants after each other. 

Crop Rotation – the Simplest Medicine for Soil

If one were to assess the value of crop rotation, i.e. the rotation of plants grown in succession, in terms of human health, ecological health prophylaxis, one could simply say: It is the best soil-healing drug and the best guarantee of good health of plants, their good growth and yield and their protection against weakness, diseases and pests. The different efforts of every horticulturist or farmer, including organic farmers, will really be of no use if they make mistakes at the very beginning of the changeover, planning the crop rotation. This applies both to the mini garden by the house and to the large field. 

Biodiversity in the Garden. How to Design it?

No Monoculture

To achieve biodiversity in the garden, we should first of all avoid monoculture, i.e. growing the same plants on one field or a fragment of the garden especially on a larger area. Why? Because every horticultural monoculture, whether conventional or organic, is foreign to nature, contrary to the laws of nature, contrary to the principle of biodiversity.

Organic horticulturalists and organic farmers integrate nature’s diversity into their system and make full use of it. We grow a wide variety of plants, we use crop rotation, changing plants every year on different areas…”. Robert Rodale

Page 3 of 4

OldGardening 2020