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Companion Planting & Crop Rotation with green mulch - Planning Suggesitons Needed

Richard Raynor

Joined: May 20, 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Just Outside Ann Arbor, Michigan
Hi All, I've been thrown into this and I'm loving it! What a great forum! I have been studying crop rotation and companion planting non-stop for a week now. I'm a newbie, and helping an autistic friend who offered me to help him re-start his farm after laying fallow 20 years. I am determined to read, study YouTube, and read all our seed packets to plan as best as I can. But my head is spinning in regards to crop rotation and companion planting. We have farm implements. My buddy is an antique tractor and heavy equipment wiz and has that side covered. What we don't have covered is companion planting and crop rotation.

I just finally understand what "green manure" is, and "live mulch". I LOVE the idea! I decided to submit my head spinning queries to you to see what you might come up with. I've attached a layout of the farm from the last two years... it's about 3 acres, sunny and excellent soil. We have irrigation covered from the water in a huge pond he dug long time ago.

If you had this land with this kind of history. What would you plant for 2012 (this year... yes. Seedlings are in the green house, and the direct seed just arrived). The question is: WHERE WOULD YOU PLANT WHAT?

We are planting everything. And I mean everything from bock & pac choy, to lots of carrots and cabbage, significant amount of Kale (very important), lots of winter squash, salads, some pole beans, some snap beans, a wee bit of sweet corn (as little as possible, would like to use 3-sisters), radishes, beets, a fair bit of tomatoes and peppers, a wee bit of strawberries and potatoes.

How would I plant all these things, so that I don't have to weed like crazy? How would you plant things in preparation for fall planting of overwintering? I simply LOVE the idea of green mulch. This is supposed to be a commercially viable farm, so thanks for keeping answers relevant

Much Love!

[Download Crop Rotation Map.bmp] Download

There is only Love. Let love Rule.
Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
with my permaculture I tend to NOT rotate crops unless I have a pest that has been uncontrollable by natural methods..(like the stupid squash bugs that hit 2 plants the last two years..there will be NO curcurbits in that plot this year !)

If you have a POLYCULTURE you might never really need to ROTATE your crops, and if you try to plant mostly permanent crops that you leave in the ground you won't have to replant those either..check out information on food forests ..read gaia's garden by Toby Hemenway.

IF IT WAS ME...and it isn't ..I would plant trees as a canopy layer, I would plant a dynamic accumulator, some nitrogen fixers and some chop and drop mulch crops as well as some insectaries around each tree and then throw in some of the annual crops here and there around these oasis of energy.

Actually that is what I do here..all of my gardens have some sort of fruit or nut or other tree in them, they all have shrubs, bushes and vines of some sort and perennial plants of some sort as well as a few annual plants..

the only thing that has to be planted in a GROUP or BLOCK is the sweet corn, which needs to be oriented in a block for wind pollination..and make sure you are watching the soil PH in the areas that you are planting things..keep your alkaline lovers in one area and your acid lovers in another area..use lots of mulch and feed your soil..with lots of stuff piled on top, let the earthworms and soil critters do the work

hope this helps


Bloom where you are planted.
Ute Chook

Joined: Aug 05, 2009
Posts: 39
I think this thread http://www.permies.com/t/3648/permaculture/Ianto-Evans-Polyculture will be of interest to you.
Richard Raynor

Joined: May 20, 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Just Outside Ann Arbor, Michigan
Wow, I just looked up the links and devoured the info. That is absolutely fascinating. I'm trying to get a sense of how to do this with the help of some automatic equipment (planting tractors), the kids love using, and how to do this reliably and have some organization... over 3 acres of fully prepared and plowed fields ready for what ever I have in mind. I wish I knew more about this!

If you can forward more links of this kind, I would love it... I'm looking for them myself, but am only a novice, and am grateful for any and all info anyone sends my way.

I just bought 45 lbs of white clover, the short kind. I watched a video where the lady is planting beautiful tomatoes and peppers on a plastic ground cover, followed by a dense sowing of clover. All she does for weeding is mow the clover! It provides nutrient balance, coolness and moisture in the summer to the cash crop, and NO WEEDING!!! I love it. So we are looking to do some of that.

Any one have ideas to combat a pest that sucks strawberry plants and leaves behind a foamy saliva? Maybe should post in new thread. Thanks for any extra info! Much appreciated!

Richard Raynor

Joined: May 20, 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Just Outside Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sorry, I thank you for the book recommendation. Unfortunately I have 2 days to nail down with the owner and farmer what we are going to plant where, and I cant devour, process, and integrate the book, and design a planting scheme in two days. So I'm doing what I can with what I've got. The book will serve for careful and very scrutinous study when there is more time for that. Thank you much appreciated!
Jay Green

Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
To avoid "weeding like crazy" you could cultivate/till just the rows/spaces you will be planting. Once planted you can mulch all bare soil. This leaves neatly mulched rows with green pathways in between of already established grass which you can just mow with a push mower. The clippings fly right up to add to the mulch. In the fall you can plant green mulch/cover crop on these or just keep building your mulch with leaves, animal bedding, etc. The following year just cut and drop then till or just rake aside your mulch and break up soil with a fork before planting, then replace the mulch.
Richard Raynor

Joined: May 20, 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Just Outside Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thank you Jay!
subject: Companion Planting & Crop Rotation with green mulch - Planning Suggesitons Needed