Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Fall Gardening Resource Guide! Wait! It’s not fall yet, why would I be worried about my fall garden yet???

Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Well it turns out if you want fall garden on most parts of the northern hemisphere August is the time to begin.

Along with harvesting, preserving and storing your summer grown crops. You also have to start planting your fall crops and your need to start working on options for protecting those fall crops. That’s why I decided to create this Fall Gardening Resource Guide.

I know a lot of successful gardeners who are also wonderful bloggers. All these folks have blogs packed full of articles of all different aspects of gardening this time of year.

I sent out a message to all my blogging friends asking for their best fall gardening and related tasks posts.  And boy did they come through!  Turns out there are a lot of people that are very passionate about fall gardening.  So this week I’ve created this Fall Gardening Resource Guide for you. I’ve included over 100 different posts, both from Stoney Acres and many other great blogs.

All the post revolve around 4 topics that should be on your mind this time of year: Fall planting, Season Extension, Canning and preserving, and storing your crops fresh. I’ve done my best to organize them in a manner that will be helpful to you!  Enjoy!

Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Fall planting

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 1

August is the time to focus on most of your fall planting, the target date is the window between 8 to 6 weeks before your first average frost.  For most of us here in the north that window will fall sometime in the month of August.  Of course those of you that live in the warmer areas (think zones 8,9,10) your planting dates will be much later.  But even in the warmer climates you want to start thinking about your fall gardens soon.  Below is a list of different blog articles that will help you with your fall planting:

General Fall Garden Advice

9 crops you can plant in August for fall and winter harvest

13 Quick Growing Vegetables for Your Fall Garden

12 Vegetables To Plant NOW In Your Fall Garden

15 Frost Tolerant Vegetables to Grow in the Fall Garden

Time to start thinking about your Fall garden

What does the arrival of 10 hour days mean for your garden?

7 Tips for Preparing the Fall Garden

How to Plan a Successful Fall Garden

Transitioning The Garden From Summer To Fall

Fall Gardening Planting Guide

Starting a Fall Garden in the Sweltering Heat of Oklahoma

Know when to harvest these 25 organic vegetables

Seed Starting: You Can Do It!

Gardening Where it is Cold (Zone 3)

Planning and Planting a Fall Garden

Planning {and planting} the fall garden

How I Prepared for the Fall Garden

When Should I Start My Seeds? Printable seed starting calendar

Crop Specific Posts

Growing Peas in the Fall

Growing Carrots for Winter Harvest

Growing Fall and Winer Carrots

Growing Lettuce in the Fall & Early Winter

Tips for Digging and Storing Sweet Potatoes

How to Grow and Preserve Pumpkins

Beginner’s Guide To Winter Squash

How to Grow Garlic – From Planting to Harvest

Growing, Harvesting, and Storing Garlic

Planting Garlic in the Fall Garden

Planting Organic Garlic: The Basics & Common Questions

How to Grow Cabbage

Harvesting Dandelion Root Tea from your garden

How to Grow Swiss Chard in your Fall Garden

5 Vegetables to Plant Now For a Fall Harvest

Pod Casts:

Fall Gardening Prep 10 Tips to Improve Your Soil

Save Money With A Backyard Chicken Fall Garden [Podcast]

Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

Season Extension

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 2

Unless you live in Zones 9 & 10 you are going to have to deal with frost this fall and winter (even you warm folks will have frost every once in a while.  So you need to have a plan to deal with protecting your fall (and even early winter) crops from frost and cold temperatures as the year progresses!  There are several different options for extending your season these include fabric row covers, cold frames, mini hoop houses, high hoops and green houses.  Below is a list of several resources to help you learn how to build and use them:

Winter Garden Structures

Building a garden cold frame

Protecting your garden from Early Frost

Growing a Year Round Garden

How to Build a Cold Frame

Polytunnels: Extend Your Growing Season

Cheap and Easy Row Covers

Move a Portion of Your Garden South

Winter Growing Conditions in a Greenhouse

Make a Hoop House to Extend Your Growing Season

Canning & Preservation

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 3

Fall is also canning and preserving time!  As your summer fruits and veggies start to finish off you will want to be putting them away for the winter.  Below is a huge list of resources for canning and other food preservation methods:

Canning

Apples

Canning Apples

Canning Applesauce Recipe

Homemade Applesauce

Canning Apple Butter using a Crock Pot

Homemade Apple Butter in the Slow Cooker

How to Pressure Can Apple Pie Filling

How to Can Apples for Baking

Crockpot Apple Butter with Canning Instructions

How to Can Applesauce

Canning Apple Pie Filling

Homemade Applesauce

Pears

Canning Pears

Pear Butter Recipe

Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes

Canning Tomato Sauce

How to Make and Can Tomato Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Carrots

Canning Carrots

How to Can Carrots

Pickled Carrots with Ginger & Dill Recipe

Raw Water Packed Carrot Recipe

Pumpkin

Canning Pumpkin

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Potatoes

6 Fall Canning Recipes

Canning Potatoes

Canning Potatoes

How to Pressure Can Potatoes

Others

Canning & Pickling Beets

Chicken Bone Broth Soup with Canning Instructions

Cranberry Sauce with Canning Instructions

Canned Zucchini Tongue Recipe

Fresh Beets Packed in Water Recipe

Canning Butternut Squash

Pickled Beets with Dill Recipe

Beautyberry Jelly Recipe

Freezing

Freezing Tomatoes

Freezing Broccoli

Preserving Bell Peppers

Other Methods

8 Ways to Preserve Pumpkin at Home

9 Ways to Preserve Apples at Home

Drying Apples & Apple Leather

Dehydrating Foods Without Electricity

5 Simple Ways to Preserve Apples

A to Z Guide to Dehydrating Vegetables

How to Dehydrate Your Own Foods

Helpful Guide To Drying Homegrown Herbs

Preserving Green Beans- Leather Britches

Fresh Storage

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 4

Along with canning, freezing and drying you will also have many crops that can be stored fresh, garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, pumpkins and all of the winter squashes are stored whole and fresh.  Below I’ve included a bunch of different resources to teach you how to do this, weather you are using a root cellar or just a cool spot in your basement, this list contains a bunch of different posts to teach you how to store your crops for the winter:

Building and Using a Window Well Root Cellar

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store

How To Store Potatoes Most Efficiently

Five Foods to Store for Winter

How to Harvest, Cure and Store Onions

It’s a matter of having a Root Cellar

Above Ground Root Cellars

Root Cellars 101- Root Cellar Design and Use

10 Tips for Storing Vegetables Without a Root Cellar

Other Fall Garden Advice

Along with all the above resources, there are also things you need to be doing in the fall to prepare your home and garden for both the winter AND next spring.  Here are some guides to help you there:

Five Steps to Get Your New Garden started this fall

8 Garden Tasks you should be doing this fall

5 Reasons why you should plant a garden next year

Preparing your Garden for Winter

The Magical Mouse Box

Preparing a New Garden Bed

Preparing the Garden fo Winter

Fall Leaves: A Valuable Soil Builder

Fall: The Perfect Time to Build Healthy Soil

Fall Blooming Flowers for the Bees

Cleaning and Sharpening Garden Tools

Fall Gardening Prep 10 Tips to Improve Your Soil

Basic Guide to Saving Seed From Your Garden

 

Well I hope you found Fall Gardening Resource Guide helpful, I don’t often do these kinds of “round up” posts but I felt like there are so many great posts and articles floating around out there right now that we need a spot to put them all together and make them easy to get at!!   If nothing else this will give you hours of reading enjoyment, Right!!

Did I miss some posts?  Do you have a favorite site that helps you with your fall gardening?  Please leave a link in the comments section and if the site owner agrees, I will add the post to this resource guide!

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Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Growing corn in hills – Video Tip

At the first of this year I did a post about Growing Corn in hills.  This proved to be such a popular post that I decided to do a YouTube video as well!

Growing corn in hills

Gardening Tips: Growing Corn in Hills

Sometimes growing corn is hard! Well okay maybe hard isn’t the right word, Space Consuming, might be a better description. Growing corn using traditional methods just takes up a lot of space!! That isn’t a big deal if you live on a large plot of land, but if your like me and you just have a little lot, dedicating space to corn can be a big sacrifice.

For years that was just a sacrifice I wan’t willing to make. But 8 years ago I discovered a new method for growing corn. Growing corn in hills! This simple, space saving method allows you to grow small quantities of corn and still have the corn in close enough proximity that you get proper pollination!

What the video for a complete break down of the process, but a simple summary is growing corn in hills involves planting 5 to 7 corn plants all within a 12 to 18 inch “hill”. Growing the corn close together like this in clumps allows the corn to still pollinate correctly. This is great especially if you only have a little space OR only want a little bit of corn.

Please go take a look!!  There’s lots of good info in this video.

While you are watching please be sure to like and comment.  And also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you will get notice when all these other videos are ready to go!!

This video, How to Cure and Store Garlic, is part of my Grow what you Eat, Eat what you grow video series.  Check out my YouTube channel for a growing list of practical gardening tips.  I try to film videos that are really going to help you in your garden.  You may even be able to learn from a few of my mistakes along the way. (Hopefully I won’t make too many!)

If you have a gardening question please be sure to leave it either in the comments section of this post or in the comments on my YouTube channel and I will get it on my list and film you a video answer!!

Happy Gardening!

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9 crops you can plant in August for fall and winter harvest

The list of crops you can plant in August for fall and winter harvest is actually quite long.

9 crops you can plant in August

According to some authors there are over 30 different crops you can plant in August for harvest in the fall and winter. In this post I am going to focus on the 9 crops you can plant in August that I consider the base fall and winter crops. But I have included a list of the others you can plant at the bottom of this post.

The instructions in the post are meant mostly for those of you living in zones 4 to 7. If you live in the warmer zones then this post will still help you but your planting dates will be much later.

For those of us in zone 4 to 7 August is our most important month for fall and winter planting. Your exact planting dates are based on your expected first frost date. Planting for a good fall and winter harvest starts 6 to 8 weeks before your first anticipated frost date. So for most of us that planting date will fall somewhere in the month of August.

Let’s use my garden as the quick example. I live in a zone 5b, almost zone 6. My first frost usually comes right around October 1st. So counting back 6 to 8 weeks gives me a 2 week planting range of August 1st to August 15th. As long as I get things planted during that time frame I can expect a good harvest that will start in the fall and continue through the winter.

Now let’s talk about the 9 crops you can plant in August that I consider the base crops for planting a fall and winter garden.

Brassica or Cole Crops

The first of the crops you can plant in August is actually a whole family! Plants in the Cole or brassica family are perfect crops you can plant in August. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts all do very well in the fall. One very important thing to keep in mind is that you plant all of these plants from seedlings NOT SEED’s.

crops you can plant in August 2

If you plant by seed there will not be enough time for your plants to develop before the cold weather sets in. So you either need to buy seedlings from your local nursery or start your own seedlings indoors in June.  You should be planting those seedlings out into the garden around 6 weeks before the first frost and you should plan on protecting them late in the season with fabric row cover or a hoop house!

Kale

Kale actually belongs to the brassica family as well, but it is an very different beast and deserves its own spot on this list. Kale is one of the most hardy plants you can grow in the fall and winter. In fact if you live in a zone 5b or above you can get kale to over winter in your garden with just the protection of a piece of heavy row cover. The other great thing about kale planted in the fall is frost and freezing temperatures sweeten the kale, changing the flavor considerably. I’m not a big fan of kale most of the time. But grow it in the cold and I will clean my plate every time.

crops you can plant in August 3

Another nice thing about kale is it can be planted either by seed or seedling. Because you use the leaves there is less time needed to get a eatable crop. Just get some seeds in the ground 8 weeks before frost comes and you will have sweet tasty leaves all winter long.

Lettuce

Lettuce will be one of your most abundant crops in the fall and early winter. In fact I love growing lettuce better in the fall than the spring. Lettuce is fairly hardy, so moderate frost and cold night time temps are really not a big deal. And the biggest difference with fall lettuce is you are not fighting the impending heat of summer which causes tip burn and bitterness.

crops you can plant in August 4

You can start planting fall lettuce 8 weeks from your first frost. Continue planting until as close as two weeks. These later plantings can be used as baby greens or could be over wintered in a cold frame for extra early spring harvests. (Learn more about growing fall and winter lettuce here)

Chinese greens

Chinese greens are next on the list of crops you can plant in August.  These are also technically part of the brassica family. But again they deserve there own spot on the list.

Chinese greens like, pac choy and tatsoi are very hardy and grow super well in the fall. The cool fall temperatures give these greens a nice flavor.

Chinese greens can be planted buy seed if you like 8 weeks before your first frost. For an extra early crop you can start them indoors first and tuck them into your garden as spots start to clear out later in the fall.

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Carrots

Carrots are one of our favorite late fall and winter treats. As the temperatures start to get cold an amazing change takes place inside your carrots. The starches in the plants turn to sugars, making winter harvested carrots sweet and delicious. These are seriously some of the best veggies you will ever eat!

crops you can plant in August 8

August is usually a pretty hot time for most of us, that means you have to give your carrots extra attention to get them germinated and off to a good start. Plan on watering the seed bed lightly once or twice per day. Or you could try covering the bed with damp burlap like my friend Jess.

We like to cover our carrot bed with a hoop house or a cold frame, but in a pinch when the weather really starts getting cold in December just cover the bed with straw. (Learn more about growing winter carrots here)

Spinach

Spinach planted in the fall is an amazing plant. A little protection with a hoop house or cold frame will give you 6 months of harvest. An August planting of spinach with give you a harvest starting in mid October. If you cover the bed with a hoop house or cold frame you can continue to harvest small amounts all winter. Then when the spring arrives the plants will take off again and provide a great harvest until May.

crops you can plant in August 7

Start planting spinach 8 weeks before your first frost. Just like lettuce you can continue to plant up until 2 weeks before your first frost. The later planting won’t give you a harvest in the fall but they will over winter for any early spring harvest.

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is another super hardy plant. Treat it the same way you would spinach. Early plantings will give you fall and winter harvests. Later plantings will give you early spring harvest if you protect the plants with a hoop house or cold frame.  All of your fall planted Swiss Chard will over winter in a cold frame.  Expect the fall and winter harvests to consist mainly of small leaves.  In the spring you will get a very early harvest of traditional larger Swiss chard plants.

Beets

Early plantings of beets will give you a regular harvest of roots late in the fall. Later plantings of beets will only yield the tops, but still give you something different to add to your fall salads.

crops you can plant in August 6

In order to have beet roots to harvest you should start planting at 8 weeks before your first frost.  Anything after about 6 weeks before the frost will end up only producing tasty tops.

Turnips

Once known only as fodder for farm animals, or as peasant food. Plant breeders have really improved the taste and variety of turnips. Look for tasty Oriental varieties and many other smaller rooted turnips.

crops you can plant in August 5

Just like beets you will need to get these planted early if you want to harvest roots. 8 weeks before your last frost would be perfect. Later plantings will yield only tops.

Unless you live in a fairly mild winter area, don’t plan on overwintering beets or turnips, they are just not hardy enough to survive the winter.

Other Crops you can plant in August

The 9 crops I listed above are what I consider my “base” crops for my fall and winter garden.  There are several other crops that can be planted in August and harvest in the fall and winter.  The include the following:

  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Sorrel
  • Radish
  • Parsley
  • Endive
  • Dandelion
  • Leeks
  • Mache (don’t plant this one until September)
  • Radicchio
  • Mizuna

Are you interested in learning more about season extension?  My 5 hour Year Round Gardening course is a great way to learn more about this fun aspect of gardening.  Follow the link on the photo below to start learning more!!

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How to Cure and Store Garlic – Video Tip

This weeks edition of Grow what you Eat, Eat what you Grow is about How to Cure and Store Garlic.  This is a simple but often over looked part of growing a successful crop of garlic in your backyard garden.

How to Cure and Store Garlic

There are 3 conditions that you need to know when learning how to cure and store garlic.  I cover all three of these things and stress why each is so important.  In this video tutorial I talk about the best places to cure your garlic and how long you need to let it cure before you bring it in to store it.  I also cover some of the best practices for storing your garlic to make it last as long as possible!!  There are differences on storage life between hard neck and soft neck varieties of garlic.  I also discuss these differences and which ones you should be eating up first!!  You can watch the video below:

 

Please go take a look!!  There’s lots of good info in this video.

While you are watching please be sure to like and comment.  And also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you will get notice when all these other videos are ready to go!!

This video, How to Cure and Store Garlic, is part of my Grow what you Eat, Eat what you grow video series.  Check out my YouTube channel for a growing list of practical gardening tips.  I try to film videos that are really going to help you in your garden.  You may even be able to learn from a few of my mistakes along the way. (Hopefully I won’t make too many!)

If you have a gardening question please be sure to leave it either in the comments section of this post or in the comments on my YouTube channel and I will get it on my list and film you a video answer!!

Happy Gardening!

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When to Harvest Garlic – Video Tutorial

Time to learn when to harvest garlic.  I’ve been so busy in the garden this year that I really haven’t had as much time as I had hoped I would to get out and film new videos for my YouTube Channel.  Things finally settled down for a bit last week so I sat down and actually filmed 8 new tutorials.  That should keep me busy editing for a while!!

When to Harvest Garlic

This weeks video teaches you a little bit about when to harvesting garlic.  It includes some tips on how to harvest garlic and a couple of tips about when to harvest garlic from your garden.  When I first started growing garlic one of my biggest frustrations was a good description of when to harvest garlic.  There is plenty to read about the topic but not a lot of pictures.  So in the video I’ve tried to give you a good breakdown of when to harvest along with a few tips that will help you know when harvest time is approaching.

Please go take a look!!  There’s lots of good info in this video.

While you are watching please be sure to like and comment.  And also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you will get notice when all these other videos are ready to go!!

This video is part of my Grow what you Eat, Eat what you grow video series.  Check out my YouTube channel for a growing list of practical gardening tips.  I try to film videos that are really going to help you in your garden.  You may even be able to learn from a few of my mistakes along the way. (Hopefully I won’t make too many!)

If you have a gardening question please be sure to leave it either in the comments section of this post or in the comments on my YouTube channel and I will get it on my list and film you a video answer!!

Happy Gardening!

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Growing Peas in the Fall

Depending on where you live, growing peas in the fall can be a little tricky.

Growing Peas in the Fall

We love garden peas.  They are one of our favorite spring time treats.  There is nothing better than June harvested pea’s (Well okay, maybe August Tomatoes).  (For a complete growing guide for peas follow this link)

Many people don’t realize that they can be growing peas in the fall as well!  In fact, I’ve had many of my readers tell me that peas do better for them in the fall than their spring time plantings.  Those folks must have a much different type of fall than we have!  Our falls are often hot, dry and short!  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a decent crop of peas in the fall as well.  Just be prepared for a little more work and a much smaller harvest.

The key to a growing peas in the fall is the planting date!

Here’s how you find your planting date for fall peas.

  1. Take a look at the days to maturity on your seed packet.
  2. Add 10 more days to that total.
  3. Now find your expected 1st frost date.
  4. Count back from the frost date the number of days you came up with in step one.
  5. The result is your planting date for fall peas.

 

Note:  The extra 10 days is to allow for the decreasing amount of sun light in the fall

So let’s use my garden as an example:

Two of our favorite peas to grow are Sugar Snap Peas and Oregon Giant Snow Peas.

Growing Peas in the Fall

Both have a maturity date of 62 days.

Growing Peas in the Fall 5

So we add 10 days to that:  62 + 10 = 72 (days to maturity)

Our expected first frost for our area is October 1st.

Counting back 72 days we get – (September 30 days, August 31 days, July 11 days) – July 20th

So our expected planting date for these two varieties of peas would be no later that July 20th.

I have found there is very little wiggle room in this planting date!  Any later and the peas will not mature before the heavy frosts start showing up for us in October.

Use the same exercise as above to figure out your planting date for your area!

Here are a few other things for you to consider when Growing Peas in the fall:

Peas are a cool weather crop.  July is not cool weather and for us, neither is August.  This means that your growing pea plants are going to need extra attention.  They will require extra water and they would love a good thick layer of mulch to help keep them cool.  Try some good organic compost or even some grass clippings from your lawn as your mulch.  The mulch will help to keep the soil cool and moist.

Growing Peas in the Fall 2

The fact that your peas are doing most most of their “growing up” in the heat, means that your plants are NOT going to be as productive in the fall.  Expect to harvest 1/2 of what you would get in the spring time.  Be sure you are willing to sacrifice the space for less production.  But I often find peas are a great addition to fill up the little empty spots that normally show up in are garden as the summer progresses.

I can hear some of you out there grumbling at me!  I realize that not everyone has the hot, dry, short falls that we have. Many of you have wonderful long cool falls.  If you are blessed to be in an area like that, then you may very well find that your fall pea production is just as good as your spring (or even better).  But many of us will struggle with a fall crop, so be sure the space wouldn’t be better used planted with something else.

Growing Peas in the Fall 3

Also keep in mind that in the spring, peas are pretty frost and cold tolerant.  But this is when the plants are young.  This is why you can get away with planting peas so early in the fall.  But as the plants mature, flower and start to set peas they become less tolerant to frost.  So be prepared to offer them some protection from the frost.  This protection will come in the form of a heavy fabric row cover that you can throw over them in the evening and remove during the day.  Or even better you could put up a simple hoop house with some PVC and a little plastic (learn more here).

Growing Peas in the Fall 4

The declining sunlight is also a huge problem for fall pea production.  You are in a race against time (and fading sunlight). So if you want to be growing peas in the fall be sure to get them in by the planting date you calculated using the formula above.  You want your crop to mature before your day length drops much below 11:30 hours a day, for our latitude that happens roughly the 10th of October.  The later in the year you get, the less likely your crop will mature.

One other consideration is variety.  I have found it is much harder (but not impossible) to get shelling peas to maturity in the fall.  We have switched our fall plantings to Sugar Snap and Snow peas.  Why?  Because in both cases you can eat the immature pods.  So really all you need is to get those plants to the flowering stage and you are home free.  Every day past flowering means larger pods for you to eat.  If the weather holds you may be able to “shell” the sugar snap peas if you want, but in either case (sugar snap or snow) you can always eat the pods no matter the size, so you get something from your efforts.

So if you have some space in your garden that has opened up during July, a fall crop of peas is a great idea.  We always end up planting peas where our garlic was planted.  I’m sure you can find a spot you can use for Growing peas in the fall as well!

I’d love to hear from my readers on this post.  How many of you grow peas in the fall?  Any advice you’d like to share?  How about a variety you have found does extra well in the fall?  Please share in the comments section below!

 

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A Simple 4 Year Crop Rotation Plan

This post is part 3 of my series on crop rotation.  Today we are going to talk about my 4 Year Crop Rotation Plan.

4 Year Crop Rotation Plan Cover

I hope you have caught the first two posts in this 3 part series on crop rotation. If not you can read them here:
1. Vegetable Crop Families
2. The Importance of Crop Rotation

For those of you that haven’t read the other posts a quick summary of those two posts would be:

All crops (both veggies and fruits) belong to a family of related plants, those related plants use the same nutrients and have the same disease and pest problems.  If you plant the same crops (or crop families) in the same place in your garden, year after year.  Then you will deplete the soil of some specific nutrients and you risk a big build up of soil borne diseases and pests.

Everything I’ve ever been taught tells me that you should give a garden bed at least 3 years off from each plant family.  So the perfect rotation system would have you planting the same crop in the same bed every 4 years (that would give each bed 3 years off). So this 4 year Crop Rotation Plan is perfect!

This simple 4 year Crop Rotation Plan divides your garden into quarters!!

In this post I just want to take a quick minute and explain my 4 year crop rotation plan.  I will use my garden as the example, but you can use this system in almost any garden by dividing that garden into 4 sections.

So here’s my simple 4 year Crop Rotation Plan
My garden has 6 beds all 4 x 25 feet. Two of these beds are taken up by my strawberry, raspberry and blackberry patches.

That leaves me with 4 beds to plant all of my other crops!!
So my simple 4 year crop rotation plan goes like this.

4 year Crop Rotation Plan 1

I group plants together by family and come up with a plan that allows me to get everything in my garden that I want.  The diagram above is a little simplified, I grow more than just these crops, but this is enough to give you the right idea.
Then every year I plant all the same plants together, just the same as last year, but in a different bed.  In my case I move bed #1 down to the furthest south bed and then move the other beds up one to the north.

Year 2

4 Year Crop Rotation Plan

Year 3

4 Year Crop Rotation Plan 3

Year 4

4 Year Crop Rotation Plan 4

This simple rotation system means that every bed only sees the same crop every 4 years.

 

Now, if you want to add an additional twist to it, try this.

After the first 4 years of rotation, flip all the crops left to right. That means that in some cases, a spot in any particular bed will only see the same crop every 8 years or even every 12 years!

4 year Crop Rotation Plan 5

This system doesn’t have to be used just on gardens that have long rectangular beds.

I met a guy that has a garden that is perfectly square, he divides his garden into 4 quarters and does the exact same thing, rotating groups and families of plants around this garden in a 4 year cycle.

4 Year Crop Rotation Plan 6

And you can do the same even if you only have a small garden. Divide it into 4 and rotate crops!

4 Year Crop Rotation Plan7

This is a simple program, it’s easy to keep track of and it also makes planning where I’m going to plant everything in my garden a breeze!! It’s not perfect, my garden is not big enough that I can keep every family, perfectly separated every year. (The squash family is my problem because they take so much room) But it does assure that every bed (except my potato, tomato, pepper bed) doesn’t see plants form the same family for up to 8 years!

This 4 Year Crop Rotation Plan isn’t rocket science, but it does require keeping some records.  That is why I am such an advocate of keeping a garden journal.  Having last years (or the last 4 years) maps to look at really helps with your planning.  A garden journal also helps you keep track of how each crop did in each bed.  This allows you to make changes to your plan when needed.  To learn more about garden journals you can read this post.

I hope you enjoyed this series of posts.  Crop rotation is often over looked by many gardeners, especially new gardeners.  So take these plans and ideas that I have given you and apply them to your own garden.  Everybody’s garden is a bit different but if you apply the 1/4 concept to your garden, each of your garden beds will get at least 4 years off from any particular crop.  This will promote a vigorous, strong garden full of healthy balanced soil!!

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