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The vegie garden 

Beds for crop rotation
The vegie garden extends our cultivated areas to the southern side of the property. It's a bit of a walk to this garden, down the hill and over the paddock, but this is where the best sun is all year round. Even in the middle of winter the vegie garden receives sun for two thirds of the day and it doesn't get flooded by the winter creek.

Layout of the vegie garden 
 
 
Crop rotation
The kitchen garden is an ideal place to grow peas under the protection of the netting. We grow most of our other vegies in the vegie garden. The vegie garden has room for this in sixteen rotation beds, each eight metres long and just under a metre wide. A number of extra beds give us room to plant crops which are not part of the rotation system.

There are many theories about crop rotation and we have listed some books which were of great help to us, on the resources page. Then we came up with our own version of a rotation plan which work for us. This system allows continuous use of the rotation beds without any adverse effect on the harvest. 

Ducks in the vegie garden
Our Indian Runner Ducks have limited access to the vegie garden to control snails and slugs. They are a small breed of duck and do not damage the vegies as much as large ducks could. And they are good egg-layers!

 
Crop rotation in the vegie garden 
rotations change in April
Crop Rotation Bed 1 becomes Bed 2 next year Crop Rotation Bed 9 becomes Bed 10 next year
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-late October to mid December: sow bush beans
-Slash legumes after harvest
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-mid October to November: plant tomatoes
Crop Rotation Bed 2 becomes Bed 3 next year Crop Rotation Bed 10 becomes Bed 11 next year
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August: apply complete organic fertilizer; plant pink eye potatoes
-late October: apply complete organic fertilizer; plant potatoes
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-September:
apply complete organic fertilizer
-September to March: sow and plant brassica
Crop Rotation Bed 3 becomes Bed 4 next year Crop Rotation Bed 11 becomes Bed 12 next year
-April: apply complete organic fertilizer
-April: plant leek
-April to November: sow salad onions
-June to August: plant potato onions
-June to September: sow brown onions
-from January onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting,
apply complete organic fertilizer and start sowing winter brassica for next rotation.
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens (small amount)
-September:
apply complete organic fertilizer
-September to December: sow carrots and beetroot
Crop Rotation Bed 4 becomes Bed 5 next year.  Crop Rotation Bed 12 becomes Bed 13 next year.
-April: plant and sow winter brassica
-April to August: sow broad beans
-September to December: sow carrots and beetroot
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens 
-October:
apply complete organic fertilizer
-October: plant sweet potatoes in hills
Crop Rotation Bed 5 becomes Bed 6 next year Crop Rotation Bed 13 becomes Bed 14 next year
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-mid October to early November: sow and plant zucchini, squash and pumpkin
-April: apply complete organic fertilizer
-April: plant garlic
-January: apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-January: sow summer brassica
Crop Rotation Bed 6 becomes Bed 7 next year Crop Rotation Bed 14 becomes Bed 15 next year
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-mid October to early November: sow and plant pumpkin and corn
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-mid October to early November: sow and plant cucumber and eggplant
Crop Rotation Bed 7 becomes Bed 8 next year Crop Rotation Bed 15 becomes Bed 16 next year
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August: apply complete organic fertilizer; plant pink eye potatoes
-late October: apply complete organic fertilizer; plant potatoes
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-mid October to early November: sow and plant capsicum
Crop Rotation Bed 8 becomes Bed 9 next year Crop Rotation Bed 16 becomes Bed 1 next year
-April: apply complete organic fertilizer
-April: plant leek
-April to November: sow salad onions
-June to August: plant potato onions
-June to September: sow brown onions
-April onwards: where space becomes available after harvesting, sow green manure or apply horse manure and composted hay from chook pens
-August:
slash green manure and dig in
-October: apply complete organic fertilizer
-mid October to early November: sow and plant pumpkin and corn
Seeds of oregano, dill, marigold, calendula, and chrysanthemums are present in all rotation beds and most of the non-rotation beds as companion plants. We have a good germination rate with those seeds.
Extra beds are for runner beans and climbing beans, silverbeet and herbs and edible flowers.
 

 

A raised bed for asparagus
We always wanted to grow asparagus. Asparagus should last for fifteen years or longer, so it's worth the extra work needed to set up the bed. Asparagus needs very well draining soil that has to be light enough to allow the fast growth of the spears in summer. Our soil is heavy clay and not suited. We chose a slope at the end of our vegie garden. We dug up 700mm of clay and grass and placed a drainage hose at the bottom of the ditch. Due to the fall of the ground the hose will naturally drain any water from the bottom of the bed. We got a load of "sharp sand" delivered plus a load of good soil. We built up the asparagus bed with a mix of both and added plenty of horse manure and some organic fertilizer. We didn't want to grow the plants from seed. That would have added another two years to the time needed before the first harvest. We bought thirty green asparagus "spiders", as the two year old plants are called. These spiders are only available in winter, when they are dormant. We planted them just under the surface of the new bed. Once they started to emerge from the soil we raised the bed and built it up to its final height of about one metre over the clay base. So far the result is amazing: over two thirds of the 30 spiders have taken root and a jungle of asparagus spears stands tall. The plants have to be cut back to ground level in late autumn. Next year we should be able to cut a few spears, and the year after, the bed should be in full production.

 

 

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