Loading...
info@michaelthurlow.com  07790 108 991

Articles

Kitchen Gardens
Kitchen Gardens

 Crop rotation

This is to ensure the long term health and fertility of your soil. It is an excellent idea to grow your crops in different areas each year, I would advise you to use adopting a four crop rotation system. All that this entails is grouping families of plants together to prevent the build-up of soil borne pest and diseases. In the system that I use I group the potatoes, legumes (peas and beans), brassicas (broccoli) and alliums/roots (onions and carrots).

 

 

Year one

Year two

Year three

Year four

Bed one

potatoes

legumes

brassicas

alliums/roots

Bed two

legumes

brassicas

alliums/roots

potatoes

Bed three

brassicas

alliums/roots

potatoes

legumes

Bed four

alliums/roots

potatoes

legumes

brassicas

 

Some vegetables do not fall conveniently into any of these categories and need to stay in permanent beds to ensure productivity. For example an asparagus bed can last up to twenty years; while fruit bushes like raspberry or gooseberry will live for up to ten years.

Many vegetable gardens are made on sites that are exposed to the elements and before you start marking out your new fruit and vegetable beds, it’s a good idea to understand how the local weather conditions will influence microclimate of your garden.

Questions worth asking yourself include – how does the sun travel across your garden. Do you have any shady spots caused by neighbouring structures, trees or boundary fences? Is your plot exposed to the wind, if it is your soil will dry out too quickly? Which way is north because these can create cold and inhospitable growing conditions.   To help answer these questions take the time to talk to local gardeners, especially those that have been gardening in the area for some years, their knowledge and experience will be invaluable and could save you a lot of time and money.

You won’t be able to change Mother Nature, but you will be able to plan your vegetable garden to work with her and be able to choose the right plant for the right spot. 

Windy sites – It is best to use shorter growing plants, you could use fruit bushes which can be planted to create wind break. If you chose to grow tall, spindly plants like Jerusalem artichokes they will have to be supported with stakes and string.  Cover your soil with a deep mulch to conserve moisture land and prevent it from evaporating away.

 Wet sites you will have to improve the soil structure will help your soil to drain. Mixing in organic matter, digging the ground over well or employing a double-digging method can all be beneficial and help to get oxygen into the ground.  Some plants such as blueberries like wet conditions, but if you plot is forever being flooded; it is probably worth thinking about constructing raised beds.

Dry sites – again like the windy and wet site, the key to your success lies in your soil preparation. The more organic matter there is in the ground the more moisture will be stored there for future use while adding a layer mulch on top of the soil will also help to retain any water.

Positioning your greenhouse

If you have space on your vegetable garden and want to erect a greenhouse, then it should be sited on a level base, with enough space to walk all around it; for cleaning and maintenance purposes. If your garden is mainly south or east facing the greenhouse should be positioned with its ridge running east to west. If your site faces north or west, the greenhouse ridge should run north to south. By choosing the correct orientation for your greenhouse, you’ll be able to maximise the sunshine and maximise your productivity.

 

Kitchen Gardens Kitchen Gardens Kitchen Gardens
Scroll to Top