I think on several possible rotations, with dry beans, corn, pumpkin, maybe onions oats. What are usual yields for potatoes? I am pretty sure that I can plant broad beans after the potatoes and they would be ready before I put the corn in or pumpkins. What would you suggest as a rotation and how much time would you leave before planting potatoes once again? Can you plant potatoes before the last night frosts?
One other idea I've used is laying the spuds right on the ground and burying them in a foot or so of mulch (hay or straw) and then using that bed for other crops the next year. After sitting under the mulch for a year, there was no need to till the soil.
Who rotates plants in nature? If you mulch deep and don't plant large monocultures there should never be much need to rotate, especially if 'rotate' means move the patch a few feet away.
In a natural ecosystem the potatoes would grow until they are too successful and then their population would break down.
I wonder what counts more in the rotation: the different crops grown or the time. In our mild climate we can for example grow broad beans in winter and then I would maybe put corn in the next summer, then something else(?) maybe oats in winter and then potatoes once again. That would mean I would plant the potatoes every two years in the same spot.
An old timer I knew (he passed a few years ago in his 90's) told me his grampa taught him a method of rotation not based on plant families, but on end product. His scheme was root/fruit/leaf. Each of those groups has different requirements from the soil and nutrients, and his claim was that with his method he was not overburdening his soil by not making the same demands on it each season.
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
A very common and useful rotation is to grow beans or peas, followed by heavily manured corn, followed by squash, followed by potatoes. I would add in a year (or five) of alfalfa for my goats (alfalfa is a perennial, not a long-lived one in some climates, but a perennial nevertheless).
why do i hear so much that alfalfa is unhealthy? is that just with regards to rabbits and humans? or is it for other animals too?