When the school kitchen garden began it was very, very loosely based on a crop rotational system with also a nod to square foot gardening. Within each bed there were sub zones with lots of companion planting and flowers. As time has gone on, the system has transitioned into more of a traditional 3 year crop rotational system: Legumes- Brassicas- Roots. This is the most basic system and I’m all for keeping it simple.
Now in its third year, the garden’s three raised beds will correspond to the three vegetable groupings. However, in two of the beds, Bed A and B, I’m dividing the beds into two, so that the main rotational crop is grown alongside a ‘floating’ crop. I’m using chard and squash as ‘floating’ vegetables, as they can be grown anywhere within the rotation. This means they can be used to fill gaps or add variety to a bed. This is especially beneficial here given I wanted to cram in as many vegetables as possibles in the limited space available. So this year, for example, chard is being planted in Bed A, where last year I grew carrots and beetroots. Ordinarily in this space (if following the rotation) would be planted with legumes but I wanted to use Bed C solely for legumes this time around.
I’m also hoping to focus on getting the most out of the garden by experimenting with hexagonal (staggered) planting and generally planting closer together to maximise space. In any gaps or between the slower growing vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and cabbages, I want to plant faster cropping vegetables, notably lettuces and radishes. Also wherever possible I’ll plant some flowers to attract pollinators, as trap crops and to repel pests. A full list of vegetables can be found here and flowers here. I’m sure there’ll be some changes along the way. Here is the plan for now.
Bed A: Brassicas
Swiss Chard, Savoy Cabbage, Red & Green Kale. I’ll try to squeeze some Dill in here.
Bed B: Roots
Carrots, Parsnips, Beetroots, Summer & Winter Squash. Chives will be planted between the carrots, They are said to improve the growth and flavour of carrots plus their flowers confuse the carrot fly.
Bed C: Legumes
Vicia Faba, Peas- Pisum sativum, Lettuce (and other quick-growing crops) & Lathyrus odorata.
Flowers, some edible, will be dotted about in all beds where possible.