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    Posted on March 22nd, 2011 Pam No comments

    Garden rotation should take place every year.

    Follow heavy feeders in one part of the garden with light feeders the next year, plant shallow rooted plants with deep rooted plants the following year.

    Some plants take nutrients from the soil, while others add nutrients. Some are heavy feeders, others are light feeders. Almost every vegetable take different nutrients from the soil. Some will take away nitrogen while others put nitrogen back in. It is hard to keep track of what does what, that is why it is always a good idea to rotate vegetables in the garden each year.

    It is recommended to put a garden on a three to five year rotation. While this is hard to plan out, it is worth it for plants to have fresh soil each year.

    Another reason to rotate crops is the pest and fungus situation. Bugs and fungus get very comfortable in a certain areas and come back with a head start the next year. For example, aphid eggs live in the ground over the winter, ready to begin where they left off the year before. But when their favorite food source isn’t there the next year they aren’t as powerful as the year before. When rotating crops, it confuses the pests and it isn’t as easy to destroy the same crop year after year.

    Here is an idea for a simple crop rotation.  This guide also shows planting the same type of plants in the same area. 

    Year 1        
    Row 1 Row 2 Row 3 Row 4 Row 5
    Broccoli Squash Peas Potatoes Leafy vegs.
    Peppers Pumpkins Peas Potatoes Root Crops
    Cabbage Cucumbers Beans Corn Carrots
    Tomatoes Melons Beans Corn Onions
    Year 2        
    Row 1 Row 2 Row 3 Row 4 Row 5
    Leafy vegs. Broccoli Squash Peas Potatoes
    Root Crops Peppers Pumpkins Peas Potatoes
    Carrots Cabbage Cucumbers Beans Corn
    Onions Tomatoes Melons Beans Corn


    Each year, move each row or group to the right, with this example, a complete rotation should take five years.

    With planting right around the corner, write down your ideas now.  It is surprising how easy crop rotation can be.

  • When to Plant

    Posted on May 4th, 2010 Pam No comments

    I have received lots of questions about when to plant vegetables.
    Here is my BEST GUESS. This is for the Idaho Falls area.

    Plant cabbage plants, broccoli plants and cauliflower plants outside anytime after April 15th.
    Plant pea seeds, onion sets, cress seeds, lettuce seeds and radish seeds anytime after May 1st.
    Plant bean seeds, corn seeds, squash seeds or plants, pumpkin seeds or plants and cucumber seeds or plants after May 20th.
    Plant tomato plants and pepper plants after May 31st.

    That is just MY idea on when to plant seeds or transplant plants into the garden.
    It is true you can plant earlier if you are planning on giving plants more protection against cold weather or be prepared to cover the plants if there is a chance of frost.

    Even using these conservative planting dates, you may experience frost as late as June 10th. There is ususally a cold spell between June 1st to 10th. Plan on protecting tender seedlings during this cold time.

    Another thing you should consider is the wind. Idaho Falls is famous for it’s wind. Wind is very damaging to tender seedlings. But keep in mind if you wait until the wind stops before you plant it may never happen.

    Also, if there happens to be a warming trend, it may feel so warm that you will want to plant too early. In early April this year it was in the 80’s and yes I felt like planting that day. It was soooooo warm. Just remember those days are few and far between. So resist the urge to plant too early.

    Several times I have planted peas very early and then again around May 28th. My experience was that both plantings matured at about the same time. So most of the vegetables planted early are just to cold to grow very fast. The later plantings ‘catch up’ with the early plants. So think twice about planting too soon. Plants really don’t grow very fast until the soil temperature warms up.