So what does this have to do with gardening – absolutely nothing, other than the fact that if you live in the North, city or suburbs, chances are you have been dealing with a lot of snow. Spring seems months away not around the corner. How can anyone think about planning a garden right now? Actually now is the perfect time to plan a garden. The fresh blanket of snow gives your mind a blank canvas to work with, eliminating the distractions around you.
If you live in an apartment and have plenty of sun, you have many options available to you for growing some food in your home and you explore them all without putting your boots on. Simply go online and check out the Tower Garden, our aeroponic system that we offer. If you have a yard put on your snow boots and take a walk in your own back yard, you will be amazed at what it can do to help you start thinking more about spring. Be careful if you haven’t walked out there for a while – I know I have broken through a few ice chunks in certain areas making walking tricky depending on which part of the yard I’m navigating. The dogs have done a great job making a few runs – so I can stick to those in most places. Our garden is in the sunniest part of our yard so the snow should melt quicker there once the temps start to rise. Since we already added our new garden beds for the season and have everything all set, I have been playing around on paper some ideas for how I plan on incorporating more crop rotation into our garden. It will be nice having another bed to use that will allow for easy rotations when the time comes. Crop rotating is an important part of gardening that benefits your crops and garden in the long term. Many gardeners don’t realize that the constantly planting the same things year after year in the same space increases the chances of soil borne disease occurrences. Even with proper soil amending to prep the beds, soil borne diseases won’t always go away.
I have a client who lost a whole bed of tomatoes that she had been using for over three years – 13 plants! A shame too since she claimed the same thing had happened the summer before but not to the degree it was happening when she showed us where most of the plants were drying up and dying on the vine. That should have been the first clue that something in the garden was amiss. Luckily for our client, we were able to plant some new starts in other beds she had that were not filled and she had fresh tomatoes throughout the summer. We recommend that she incorporate a crop rotation plan for the following seasons.
Benefits of Crop- Rotation
- Simplest way to reduce occurrence of soil-borne diseases
- Provides principle mechanism for building healthy soils
- Major way to organically control pests
When we planted the new beds we incorporated companion plantings to enhance the health and flavors of the plants as well as attracting beneficials to the garden. Companion planting is the practice of closely planting herbs and flowers with the vegetable plants.
- It brings variety into the garden helping to break up the monoculture, in turn deterring disease and bad bug infestation.
- It’s a holistic approach to working with the intricate layers of the ecology of your garden.
- Reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Many vegetables and herbs store natural substances in their roots, flowers and leaves that repel unwanted pests and attract beneficial insects.
- Enhances the beauty as well as the flavor and overall health of your garden by working in harmony with nature.
Speaking of peas, I can’t wait to start planting some peas in the garden. As soon as the top layer is workable I will be seeded peas, carrots and few other cold crops week after week. What are cold crops you may ask – well that a topic for another time. Until then, I will hold on the fact that spring is less than a month away and enjoy the return of the birds who recently I have been awaken by as they chirp outside my bedroom window.