Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Pizza Pie/Crop Rotation Garden

     Yesterday's blog about crop rotation got me thinking:
     "It sure would be nice if I had computer program that could design a circular crop rotation garden plan for me!"
     What I spent the evening pondering: how to construct a crop rotation garden, in the shape of a six-slice pizza pie. So, I broke out the compass, protractor, ruler and graph paper, and set to work.
     There are definite benefits to having a garden in the shape of a circle: a central water source in the middle of the circle, compacted walkways three feet wide (big enough for a wheelbarrow) and an easy way to remember to rotate crops each season. 
     As mentioned yesterday, crop rotation is important to keeping the soil healthy and not subjecting plants to certain diseases endemic within the same family (For example, don't plant tomatoes in the spot where you had potatoes last year, and vice versa. That could spread late blight disease.) Also, giving your soil an "off-year" every few years gives it a chance to reduce pest populations while building up valuable soil nutrients, as well as beneficial fungi and bacteria. Annual cover crops that do well here in California for the warm weather seasons: Buckwheat, cowpeas, soybeans, black eye peas. For the cool weather seasons: bell or fava beans, winter peas, vetch, clover.
An excellent online reference for cover crops: the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Catalog.

Here's the general idea for the Pizza-Shaped Crop Rotation Garden:
For those who want a REALLY BIG GARDEN:
the pizza is 81 feet in diameter. That would be about 700 square feet per slice (4200 sq. ft!)

For those who want something more manageable:
the pizza is 42 feet in diameter. That's about 170 square feet per slice (1020 sq. ft)

Again, the major walkways should be three feet across. Narrower pathways will be necessary within each slice so that you're not stepping all over your plants and compacting the soil.

Let me know how that works out for you. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. So glad I found this. Been planning a very similar setup for my place here in Tassie. Nearly identical. Prob only differences are chooks in the fallow bed with a moveable fence, two beds each cycle for curcurbits and solanacea and worm holes for my compost scraps in every second bed. Mine is more of a half circle shape as I have an tricky block of land, with the chook house in the centre of the semi-circle, beds radiating off that.

    Sometimes I think I'm a crack pot, but when I see others doing similar, it makes me feel as though I might be on the right track.