I’m a firm believer in maximum output for minimum effort whatever I’m doing, and this is particularly the case at the allotment. I’m not there every day but when I am there, I want to use my time as efficiently as I can.
The idea is to get everything growing nicely, and then spend my time pottering and picking fresh, tasty vegetables. The reality is that there’s a bit more work than that, but you get my drift.
Keeping plants as free as possible from pests and diseases is one of the easiest ways of getting as much produce as you can from your plants.
It’s all about prevention rather than cure and not wasting valuable time trouble-shooting or using chemicals.
All you do is simply grow annual plants from the same family together for one year, then grow them in a different place the folllowing year, using a new place every year over a four year cycle.
Officially known as crop rotation, it works like this:
Plant diseases usually stick to a particular type of plant, grow that plant year after year in the same place and diseases build up. Grow the plants in a different place each year and they start off with fresh soil and a fighting chance of staying healthy.
The same method works for reducing pests, remove their food source (the plant), even a short distance, and the quantity of pests becomes less.
This year I’ve got 4 new raised beds at my allotment and this is my plan of where my plants are going:
The main groups of vegetables to rotate are:
- Bed 1. Potatoes, leeks will go in when the potatoes are harvested
- Bed 2. Legumes, this bed will mostly have courgettes in it. I’m growing beans at home where I can keep an eye on them each day
- Bed 3. Roots
- Bed 4. Brassicas
This is the first time I’ve used this system at the alottment, but I like the idea of giving plants a big advantage simply by planning where to grow them. It may all need a bit of tweaking, but I’ll let you know how I get on.