It is not without reason that agriculture differentiates between heavy and weak consumers of vegetable plants. Regular crop rotation balances the nutrient content of the soil and ensures high crop yields every year. The gardener is best guided by this annual plan when planting in the raised bed.
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Relevance of correct crop rotation
The roots of various types of vegetables are as diverse as the appearance of the above-ground growth. Every plant has very individual requirements for the soil conditions. In order to plant a raised bed in such a way that the greatest possible crop yield is obtained, it is therefore essential for the gardener to adapt the properties of the substrate. Sufficient nutrients are essential. But a garden does not stand still. An ecosystem develops its own processes after construction. The incorporated nutrients will run out over time. The limited space available in a raised bed encourages this process all the more. Fortunately, there are also plants that thrive in poor soil. Anyone who observes the correct crop rotation will successfully raise a mixed crop for years.
Relevance of mixed culture
In addition to the time of planting a suitable plant, the composition of the bed is also of great importance. Since the nutrient reserves are limited, individual plants must not compete with each other. Here, too, good neighborliness can become a sure-fire success in a positive sense. Plants that get along protect each other from pests.
Classification of useful plants
Botany divides plants into heavy, medium and weak consumers. Each category provides information about the nutrient requirements of the plants. The gardener should mainly use this as a basis for his annual plan for the raised bed.
- Melons (greenhouse attachment required)
- sugar beets
- spring onion
- pole beans
- bush beans
- Lamb’s lettuce
Preparation of the raised bed
The gardener can start preparing the raised bed in autumn of the previous year. If the gardener covers the soil with a warm, moisture-proof tarpaulin, they can even survive frosts in winter.
It is particularly important when planting that the substrate is matched to the selected plants. Heavy consumers require a high nitrogen content. In the case of weak consumers, on the other hand, a high concentration has a negative effect on development. Since fertilizer from the trade does not always meet the requirements of the vegetable plants, green manure from self-made organic material is more advisable.
When preparing the bed, the gardener proceeds as follows:
- loosen the soil
- Dig planting holes of the appropriate size (approx. 1.5 to 2.5 times larger than the root ball)
- Moisten root balls of crops
- place in the holes and press on the substrate
- moisten soil
- increased watering than required outdoors
Planting plan for the first year
The choice of plants for the first year is particularly important as it forms the basis for the following years. Only heavy feeders are suitable for the first planting. The reason for this is the current, very high nutrient content of the soil due to green manure. Weak consumers would suffer from the nitrogen content.
The rapid heat development of the raised bed releases even more nutrients than outdoors. Depending on the type of vegetable, this promises good harvest yields in the first year of cultivation.
Potatoes, for example, are a good place to start growing vegetables. Regardless of the variety, all types of vegetables except celery and red cabbage are suitable for heavy consumers. Among the herbs, only basil is suitable. Other herbs belong to the medium or weak consumers.
Planting plan in the second year
Because the nutrient density has already decreased, the gardener has to do without some heavy consumers in the second year. He replaces these with a compilation of the Mittelzehrer, taking into account good neighborliness. These also leave enough nutrients for the following plants.
Planting plan in the third year
In the third year, not much has changed compared to the second year. Now is the ideal time to turn the raised bed into a small herb garden. The nitrogen content is now just right for parsley and co. Strawberries are also a classic for the third year. The Mittelzehrer form a good neighborly relationship with numerous types of vegetables and even survive the winter. They only don’t feel comfortable around cabbage.
Planting plan in the fourth year
In the fourth year the hour of the weak eaters strikes. Occasionally, a few medium-eaters are allowed to mingle with the planting. For example strawberries, which would be much too good to throw away due to their perennial nature. Bean and salad lovers will now get their money’s worth. The vegetable goes well with spinach or tomatoes.
Planting plan in the fifth year
Even weak consumers are dependent on a few nutrients. After such a long standing time, almost all the basics for healthy vegetable development have been used up. Now it’s time to redo the raised bed from the ground up. With renewed green manure, the gardener enriches the substrate again and thus creates the best conditions for cultivating heavy feeders again. As early as autumn he creates a compost heap to produce organic material. For example, the fallen autumn leaves can be put to good use. Before planting in spring, the leaves must be well rotted so as not to spoil the tender roots of the young vegetable plants.
The fifth year marks the beginning of a repeated crop rotation according to the annual plan for the raised bed described above. At this point, the gardener can start cultivating heavy feeders such as potatoes, asparagus or corn again.