So I spent some time a weekend or so ago pouring over every book I had on crop rotations, and rechecked out the copy of Eliot Coleman’s New Market Grower that I had donated to our library. This file is the my current working draft rotation for the farm-and, yes, I know I need to get out more in the winter. Most of the time was spent on getting the layout side of the rotation up, the actual plant details have alot of work left.
Some explaining, this is basically an abstract spacial representation of the layouts in the .1 Acre Page to show each bed progressing through 4 years of rotations.: Rows are each one bed in the garden (there are 12). Each Column is a month in the Gardening year (Starting in March) that takes that bed through a 4 year rotation as you scroll right. Each bed accommodates a 18 month cover crop in each 4 year chunk, and every bed is designed to only be have exposed soil directly at planting time. I did not include “till times” but it is assumed that the cover crops will be killed by mowing or chicken tiller with enough time to allow either seeding or transplanting. Almost certainly some of the rotations are too tight for this. The smaller rows under each “group” is to mark under-sowing of cover crops while the cash crop is still in place.
Much will need to be ironed out -after several hours the question of how long winter squash would be in the ground began to slip beyond me-, especially how will I kill the perennial cover crops without tilling? I will be partnering with my county extension soon and may reach out to ATTRA in person since they are actually funded again. There will be a second rotation as this one is very light on varieties right now (no beans!!) so the second garden will incorporate what this is lacking. The original design was for .25 acres which makes flexing in varieties easier. Next steps are in ironing out flower and herb varieties for the perennial insectary beds and then somehow dumping all this into a digital presentation to pitch it to the land owners!
Comments are very much encouraged, I know that many of you are much more experienced at this than I am! I know there are myriad minor issues still in there and February will bring a much closer revisit to ensure planting/harvest times are reasonable, etc once my brain stops hurting from juggling all these time/spacial relationships onto a spreadsheet.