The Mains of Drum

Crop Rotation

Published 22/02/2022

It's so exciting starting a new veg garden or taking on your own allotment! There's nothing more satisfying than growing your own produce, and it tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the supermarket. It's also far more environmentally friendly, with next to no food miles from plot to plate!

However, it's worth bearing in mind that in order to create a healthy plot that will produce some show-worthy veg, it's good to have a system of crop rotation in place.

It's easy to do! Firstly, you'll need a bed/area for anything perennial, such as asparagus, or rhubarb. This won't need to be moved and will stay in this position. Then, a basic three year crop rotation is split up into Area 1) potatoes, Area 2) legumes (peas and beans), onions and roots, Area 3) brassicas (cabbage, kale, broccoli etc). In the following year, legumes, onions and roots will be grown in Area 1, brassicas in Area 2 and potatoes in Area 3. In the third year, brassicas will grow in Area 1, potatoes in Area 2, and legumes, onions and roots in Area 3. Then the cycle repeats the next three years and so on.

Using crop rotation has many benefits; it can minimise pests and diseases on the plot, as the same group of veg isn't being grown in the space year on year, giving the disease less chance of finding a host. Legumes help keep nitrogen in the soil for the following crop of brassicas, ensuring the leafy vegetables grow nice and healthy. And finally, it makes it easier to plan your plot layout year on year, as you'll know exactly what needs planted where.

Now is a great time to start to create a plan for the layout of your produce using crop rotation. It'll ensure that you don't over sow any seeds in the coming months as you'll have a better understanding of exactly how many plants you'll need for each space. So pick up those spades, and get digging for your dinner!

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Winter is a wonderful time to get creative. As the days are short and cold we tend to spend more time inside and less in our gardens. For this project you can bring a little bit of nature inside, or hang it on your front door. You can take cuttings from the garden, forage for foliage, berries, and cones (if the weather permits!), or buy real or artificial foliage and flowers instead. It's up to you what you want to include on your wreath!

First off it's best to go with a theme. Are you wanting a traditional wreath, with red, gold and green? Or maybe something more modern like silver, blue and green? Or you could even go rustic with a simple green and brown colour palette. There's so many different options to suit every taste.

Next decide what kind of wreath base you want to use. You can use rattan (like I have here), or a base with wire and moss. Moss is a good option as it holds moisture, keeping your wreath fresher for longer.

Once you've decided on a theme and you have your base, it's time to choose what foliage, flowers or fruits and decorations you want to include. Make sure to have plenty of foliage, as this is the back bone of your wreath and what makes it look full. There's no right or wrong combination, so just experiment with what you think works well together, and have fun!

Stick the stems into the base until they are secure, or for extra hold you can use a little florists wire to keep the stem in place. Work your way around the wreath ensuring there is a balanced amount of foliage. I tend to add odd numbers of things as this works best.

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