I've been putting it off for the last couple of weeks but there's no escaping that with several empty sections of beds in the Country Garden I really desperately needed to get the Planting Plan for this coming season sorted.
I made the decision early on to rotate the beds every Autumn, broadly following the 4-bed rotation system. I keep referring to the diagram in Josh Byrne's book The Green Gardener as I find it quite simple to follow.
However there's a vast difference between a neat diagram in a book and a fast-growing accumulation of garden beds full of things that don't all neatly ripen and finish at the same times. I managed to follow the system when we first planted the garden and had worked out what the rotation would be for the following season, but before we got to it we'd expanded the garden by almost 50%, which made it a bit tricky, and so it got a bit messy. And in the last year we've added another three large tubs, throwing the system out even further.
So the other night I sat down with garden plan, pencil, eraser and lots of sheets of paper to try to sort it out. The first difficulty is that in the last season we didn't grow even amounts of each of of the four groups (foliage, legumes, root, fruiting) so it was impossible to just allocate Vegie B to replace Vegie A. I also realised that even though in my mind there should be a system that allows the rotation to happen across adjacent beds, due to the locations of the new garden beds installed during the last year, that wasn't going to be possible. It seemed most important to try to follow the rotation of the bed types as closely as possible and make sure that everything is in a different bed from the last two winters. An imperfect result, but given that we're not likely (?!) to increase the beds dramatically again, I hope that we can tweak it over the coming year and have a much improved system for the next rotation.
So with all its faults and limitations, here's this Autumn/Winter Planting Plan (until I start tweaking it as we plant!)
I'd love to hear how other people do this. And how do you track it? I've been looking at a couple of apps that might do it, but not sure whether they are detailed enough to bother.