This is the 4 Year Crop Rotation System we follow.
- Apply lots of muck and plant potatoes.
- When the potatoes are lifted we plant brassicas which will all be harvested by very early the following spring.
- Sow peas and beans along with some spring sown brassicas for harvesting in summer-autumn
- Traditionally you would apply lime to the soil before sowing.
- This is time for the miscellaneous crops (anything not included elsewhere). Melon, cucumber, peppers, aubergine, tomatoes, lettuce and onions are all included in our miscellaneous crops.
- We apply a mulch of well rotted compost for these crops.
- We plant root crops – carrots being the dominant variety.
Many gardeners would include tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in Year One along with the potatoes to which they are closely related. This is not that practical for us so we split them and it is working well.
We bend the rules at times, particularly for quick crops and those that will be good companions. For example we plant beetroot and radish between onion and garlic as they grow well in their shade.
Don’t be afraid to modify systems to suit your situation. The main thing is to mix things up and avoid repeat plantings of the same crops year after year.
We owe much of our gardening knowledge to lots of practice and the late great John Seymour. If you’re starting out growing your own vegetables I cannot recommend his book The Self Sufficient Gardener enough. If you do not have this book you can get a copy at Amazon via the links below.
For a more self sufficient future
I am short of space, and have made the mistake in planting tomatoes everywhere!! As long as I dig in some yummy compost, do you think it will be alright to plant tomatoes in some of the same
places next year? Also, if my tomatoes have mostly stopped turning red (we are moving into autum here in NZ), shall I just pull them up and make green chutney? I am a mere novice and need some advise please? 🙂
Hi Sootie. You may get away with 2 years of toms in the same place but then again you may not and I definitely wouldn’t advise it for more than that. Can you plant something over winter to at least give the soil a chance to get active with something else?
If you don’t need the space you can just leave the toms outside and see how they do (until the frosts) – we still had a few plants ripening into winter (slowly I admit). They look messy but continue to ripen well.
O try storing very firm, perfect green toms in layers between felt or paper in wooden boxes or drawers. Put the most ripe in the top layers. They will all gradually ripen and will store for months somewhere cool and out of direct light. They don’t taste as nice as sun ripened fruit but they’re still better than store bought ones. Just check them each week or so as any which spoil can ruin the whole batch.
muck = compost?
I’ve decided to stop procrastinating and get my veg patch working!
Thanks for all your help from this site!
I wait until news of the first frost, then pick all my remaining tomatoes. If I am too late, that is, I sit down some evening and hear there will be a frost tonight, I turn on my sprinkler system, then pick the tomatoes the next dad. In either case, I wrap my toms in newspaper and put them under my bed. Every Friday night I take them out and check for those that have red on them.
I pull the red ones and put them on a window sill. In a few days, they will be completely ripe.
I have had fresh toms until February.
During the harvest season, I harvest the ones that are ripe and the ones I can’t use, I make Gazpacho, tomato sauce, and stewed tomatoes.