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Difference between revisions of "Garden rotation at Potawot Food Gardens"

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Crop Rotation is a gardening practice in which different crops are planted in different areas of the field each year to prevent soil deterioration. It can improve soil fertility and structure with the right technique. The herb and vegetable gardens at Potawot Indian Health Facility [[http://www.appropedia.org/Potawot]] use the method of crop rotation as a part of their organic gardening routine.[http://www.organicgardening.com/]
 
Crop Rotation is a gardening practice in which different crops are planted in different areas of the field each year to prevent soil deterioration. It can improve soil fertility and structure with the right technique. The herb and vegetable gardens at Potawot Indian Health Facility [[http://www.appropedia.org/Potawot]] use the method of crop rotation as a part of their organic gardening routine.[http://www.organicgardening.com/]
  
[[Image:potawot006.jpg|thumb|left|Crops at Potawot Figure 1]]|
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[[Image:potawot006.jpg|thumb|left|Crops at Potawot Figure 1]]
  
 
[[Image:WwIIcr.jpg|thumb|right|Sample Garden Rotation Chart from World War II Figure 2]]
 
[[Image:WwIIcr.jpg|thumb|right|Sample Garden Rotation Chart from World War II Figure 2]]
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== Techniques ==
 
== Techniques ==
Plants in different taxonomic groups are rotated to ward off pests. This generally means deep-rooted plants are rotated with shallow rooted plants. Also, certain plants renew different nutrients i.e. legumes (like a kidney bean or lentil) replenish nitrates in the ground. Cereals need nitrate rich soil, therefore it is beneficial to plant legumes before cereals. In ideal conditions it is best to wait three years to plant a crop in the same place as before. Crop rotation techniques ultimately vary depending on the soil quality, precipitation and climate. A sample crop rotation chart can be viewed at Figure 3.  
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Plants in different taxonomic groups are rotated to ward off pests. This generally means deep-rooted plants are rotated with shallow rooted plants. Also, certain plants renew different nutrients i.e. legumes (like a kidney bean or lentil) replenish nitrates in the ground. The microorganisms in the legume's roots return the nitrates [http://www.gardeners.com/Pest-and-Disease-Control/5064,default,pg.html]. Cereals need nitrate rich soil, therefore it is beneficial to plant legumes before cereals. In ideal conditions it is best to wait three years to plant a crop in the same place as before. Crop rotation techniques ultimately vary depending on the soil quality, precipitation and climate. A sample crop rotation chart can be viewed at Figure 3.  
  
 
The different families are as follows
 
The different families are as follows

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Introduction to Garden Rotation at Potawot Food Gardens

Crop Rotation is a gardening practice in which different crops are planted in different areas of the field each year to prevent soil deterioration. It can improve soil fertility and structure with the right technique. The herb and vegetable gardens at Potawot Indian Health Facility [[1]] use the method of crop rotation as a part of their organic gardening routine.[2]

Crops at Potawot Figure 1
Sample Garden Rotation Chart from World War II Figure 2

Why is it Important?

Rotating crops is an important part of sustainable organic gardening. Without crop rotation the soil is weakened by one crop repeatedly season after season taking out specific nutrients from the soil. Also without crop rotation specific pests and pathogens will build up in the crop growing area. Soil weakening can be avoided by changing the crops season to season because the different crops pull out different nutrients from the soil and attract different pests and pathogens. A poster from WWII explains the basics of crop rotation in Figure 2. During that time when many citizens had victory gardens crop rotation was essential because pesticides were not available during rationing.

Techniques

Plants in different taxonomic groups are rotated to ward off pests. This generally means deep-rooted plants are rotated with shallow rooted plants. Also, certain plants renew different nutrients i.e. legumes (like a kidney bean or lentil) replenish nitrates in the ground. The microorganisms in the legume's roots return the nitrates [3]. Cereals need nitrate rich soil, therefore it is beneficial to plant legumes before cereals. In ideal conditions it is best to wait three years to plant a crop in the same place as before. Crop rotation techniques ultimately vary depending on the soil quality, precipitation and climate. A sample crop rotation chart can be viewed at Figure 3.

The different families are as follows

  • Legume (Peas, Fava Beans, ect.)
  • Mint (Basil, Sage)
  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic)
  • Grass (wheat, Rice)
  • Nightshade (Eggplant, Tomatoes)
  • Umbel (Carrot, Dill)
  • Composite (Lettuce, Artichokes)
  • Crucifer (Radishes, Turnips)
  • Goosefoot (Beets, Chard)
  • Squash (Winter Squash, Pumpkins)
Example Garden Rotation Chart Figure 3

At Potawot

At Potawot [4] crop rotation in implemented to maintain an organic pesticide free garden. The gardens grow a variety of different crops including artichokes, sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, celery, chard, tomatoes and many others. There are four main fields with varying number of rows in each. Each season a chart is drawn up to organize the crops so that none are in the same places they were the last two years. The charts also rotate cover crops throughout the garden to restore nutrients into the soil for future growing. Then the rotation charts are displayed in the volunteer house [[5]] showing in what week and what row to plant the crops.

References

"Gardening With The Helpful Gardener." Helpful Gardener. <http:/http://www.helpfulgardener.com/organic/2006/crop.html>.

Tanner, Eddie. The Humboldt Kitchen Gardener. Arcata, CA: Eddie Tanner, 2008. 16-31.

Shonnie, Eddie. Personal Contact. 28 October 2008.

"Potawot Community Food Gardens." California Area Indian Health Services. Federal Health Program for American Indians and Native Alaskans. 28 Oct. 2008

<http://www.ihs.gov/facilitiesservices/areaoffices/california/universal/pagemain.cfm?p=291>.

Ogden, Shepherd. Straight-Ahead Organic : A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Great Vegetables in a Less Than Perfect World. New York: Chelsea Green, 1999.

Contact details

Writer: Meghan Heintz Email: Msh37@humboldt.edu <layout name="Project" />