The Next Crop (again)

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I’ve just planted the next crop into vegetable box #1. I’m still amazed how quickly the soil level drops. Thankfully, after the last top up we had a couple of wheelbarrows of 5 way soil left (2 soils, 3 manures) so I didn’t have to buy more soil for this top up. From left to right: leeks, baby spinach, beetroot. I tried to plant the leeks in mounds because I’ve read that this promotes more white growth in the leek, but it didn’t really work. They just started falling over and I ended up pushing the mounds in anyway so they had a bit more solid ground to hold them up. Maybe they need to be bigger first? Or maybe I just needed to persevere a little more. I’ve never grown spinach before but I love baby spinach and use it heaps so I’m excited to see how they turn out. This is my third lot of beetroot. If you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, I love beetroot!

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It’s tricky spreading pea straw over such small seedlings and not burying them with it. This layer is pretty thin so I’ll top it up when the seedlings are a bit bigger.

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I’m still trying to adhere to my crop rotation. Because I seem to have to top up the soil a fair bit each time, plus I give the existing soil a good turn over, I’m not too worried about the details of which family should follow which to get the best nutrient composition of the soil (like planting legumes after brassicas to help replace the nitrogen). Plus, since I don’t have much space for my vegies, I’d prefer to plant the ones I want, rather than one that will help improve the soil. And guess what I noticed as I was turning the soil? I’ve got worms! Lots of them! Finally they came! Clever little wormy’s getting all the way to the top of the vegie boxes!

Question: when I’m turning the soil should I avoid mixing soil between areas that had different vegies in them? Will this just spread pests/diseases throughout my vegie box and defeat the purpose of crop rotation? (not that I’ve had any pests other than caterpillars this time ’round but they’re not exactly hanging out in the soil waiting for the next leafy vegetable).

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Crop Rotation

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I’ve still got lots to learn about crop rotation but I think I’ve got the basics: Don’t plant the same genus of plant after you’ve harvested. I’m sure there are many more rules and tips to get the best crop. Like planting carrots after brassicas because brassicas are hungry and eat up all the nitrogen and carrots don’t like too much nitrogen/nutrients in general because that promotes foliage and you’ll get a top heavy crop. Although, I planted carrots after broccoli and the carrots were crazy and small. Basically, I’ve made a spreadsheet so I remember what I’ve planted where and I’ll avoid planting the same genus in the same spot for consecutive crops. I’ll learn all the detailed goodness as I go.

Question: should I not have planted my chillies next to my tomatoes? I didn’t even think of that! I know it wasn’t ideal to plant the carrots and celery next to each other, so I guess the same would apply for chillies and tomatoes? Whoops. More lessons learnt!