Tips for Allotment Planning and Crop Rotation

Sunday, 14 April 2013

It's been a while since I've done a gardening or allotment post. I blame the weather. Last year was a terrible year for us on the allotment. It began with the worst drought on record a long time followed by months of non-stop flooding. As a result, half of our plot was unusable. The other half was overtaken by weeds and wetness making the whole business rather unmanageable. Many of our neighbours gave up their plots. We decided to persevere for another year. The freezing weather and very late spring meant allotment planning and sowing suffered too. Nevertheless, we finally managed to get on our plot last week for a round of digging, sowing and planting. I've also managed to spend some time planning crop rotation and planting.

Crop rotation is an essential part of planning your vegetable garden. It's all about chemistry. So here are some top tips on how to go about planning your allotment. You can compare our plot last year versus this to make a quick assessment yourself. I must add, it isn't perfect but useful enough.
  • Sow brassicas ( cabbage, cauliflowers, broccoli)  after legumes (beans and peas). They will benefit from the nitrogen fixed in the soil by the legumes
  • Plant legumes after  the potato family. The potato family includes tomatoes and peppers. 
  • Root vegetables are a good follow on act to brassicas. Potatoes also do well after brassicas and that is what we've gone for this year.

Whilst planning your allotment, it is useful to consider companion planting. Some of my favourites are these:
  • Tomatoes, basil and french marigolds. The smell of tomatoes and basil together is divine. The marigolds keep nematodes at bay
  •  Nasturtiums and most things! I plant my nasturtiums in between my legumes, root vegetables and brassicas. They help by attracting hoverflies which deter aphids.
  • Onions planted amongst carrots can help with deterring carrot fly.
I'd love to hear your gardening tips too. What have you been growing lately? Ann x

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  1. Wow what made me click was this interesting topic, that I was seeing a blog for the first time. I am a fairly new reader so had no idea about your interests in gardening, but well you are darn serious about it I can see. Wow to that. And concept of rotation, I remember from school. Have nowhere to apply it though.... I only have potted plants at home. But recently giving shot to growing mint and tomatoes. The latter would just not grow fruits somehow... has been a few days.

    But anyhow I really liked your post and the fact that you touched upon something like this. Hope the weather treats your plants better this time around :)

    Swati @ The Creative Bent

    1. Thanks Swati :). I'd give your tomatoes a while to fruit. Not sure how the seasonal thing works in India-I didn't do much gardening whilst there. There are some India based gardening blogs that may have pointers. Mint should be easy to grow but don't put it in the ground-its grows like a weed. Ann x


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