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Rhs level 2 certificate year 1 week 19 2014

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vegetables: crop rotation and propagation

vegetables: crop rotation and propagation

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  • 1. RHS Level 2 Certificate Week 19 – Outdoor food production. Vegetables – crop rotation, intercropping and successional cropping
  • 2. Learning outcomes 1. Cultivation techniques (2) 1.1 Describe the methods used to advance and extend the productive season of outdoor food crops. 1.2 Identify a range of propagation methods used in the production of a range of outdoor food crops. 2. Crop rotation etc 2.1 State the benefits and limitations of using crop rotation. 2.2 Describe how crop rotation can be used in the vegetable garden. 2.3 Describe two methods by which successional cropping can be achieved in the production of a range of vegetable crops. 2.4 Define the term: ‘intercropping’. 2.5 Explain how intercropping can be used to maximise production.
  • 3. Quiz answers 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. (b) & (d) (a) (b) (b) Approximately every 3 years depending on soil To reduce competition from weeds Does not expose weed seeds; reduces water loss (acts as a mulch); no need to dig organic matter in; does not damage soil structure/organisms About 1m 20m – though the effect tapers off over distance
  • 4. Extending the season for food crops  Using protection – cloches, greenhouse, poly-tunnel - at the beginning and end of the season.  Using varieties that are suited to the stage of the growing season. For example Peas (Pisum sativum) can be picked from May to September if the right varieties are chosen.  Sow in succession – so that there are new plants ready to harvest as one batch finishes.
  • 5. Propagation methods for vegetables    Seed – sown outside or sown in pots under cover Plants – young vegetable plants at planting out stage can be purchased from mail order suppliers who will deliver in the correct week for planting. Roots, slips and sets – Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is supplied as a root, Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) as slips (shoots with part of the root tuber – a bit like propagating Dahlia) and onions (Allium sativum) as sets (juvenile bulbs).
  • 6. Intercropping and other intensive cropping approaches    Intercropping – growing rows or plants of a quickly maturing vegetable between those of a slow growing one. Catch cropping – growing a quickly maturing crop on soil left vacant by a harvested crop or set aside to be planted later. Mixed cropping – growing several vegetables together that benefit each other and are harvested at the same time (e.g. ’the Three Sisters’: sweet corn, beans and squash).
  • 7. Crop Rotation – basic principles Three or four groups (excluding permanent planting) depending on plot size. More groups = longer cycle (the longer the cycle the better).  Four group cycle – legumes, brassicas, alliums, roots. (For a three group – put alliums with roots).  Legumes are generally followed by brassicas.  Root crops (include potatoes if space does not permit a separate area) tend to be followed by alliums (the cultivation required for roots minimises weed competition). 
  • 8. Crop rotation – rotation groups  Vegetables divided into five groups – permanent planting (perennials like Asparagus); Brassicas; Legumes; Alliums; root crops.  Salad crops and some others like Sweet Corn and squash do not fall into a rotation group  The principle is not to grow the same group on the same soil two years running.
  • 9. Crop Rotation – benefits and limitations Benefits Limitations Minimises plant problems – pests, diseases and deficiencies Most pests and diseases are mobile or have long persistence One crop can benefit the next in the rotation – nitrogen fixing legumes; potatoes suppress weeds Personal taste is vital on a small scale – the grower might like brassicas but not carrots. Planning the rotation also enables planning succession Inflexible – intercropping, catch cropping or mixed cropping do not fit well
  • 10. Successional cropping  Sowing different varieties – early, midseason and late  Sowing a few seeds at regular intervals so that the plants do not all reach maturity at the same time. For example, hearting lettuce (such as Cos) take 8 -14 weeks to reach maturity. Sowing half a row each week-10 days from late March until late July gives continuity of harvest May to October.
  • 11. Learning outcomes 1. Cultivation techniques (2) 1.1 Describe the methods used to advance and extend the productive season of outdoor food crops. 1.2 Identify a range of propagation methods used in the production of a range of outdoor food crops. 2. Crop rotation etc 2.1 State the benefits and limitations of using crop rotation. 2.2 Describe how crop rotation can be used in the vegetable garden. 2.3 Describe two methods by which successional cropping can be achieved in the production of a range of vegetable crops. 2.4 Define the term: ‘intercropping’. 2.5 Explain how intercropping can be used to maximise production.