I have been practicing bio-dynamics for some years, every now and then I break the “rules”, ie. planting etc. outside of the bio-dynamic calender, simply because it is a bit restricting. However, wanting to do things properly I tend to stick to the specified planting times. It does however create confusion, mostly in my head as I am also quite strict about crop rotating too.
There are four categories for plants within the bio-dynamic system:
Root crops: radishes; swedes; sugar beet; beetroot; celeriac; carrots; parsnips; potatoes; onions; garlic etc.
Leaf crops: cabbage family; lettuce; spinach; endive; lambs lettuce; parsley and other leafy herbs.
Flower crops: flowers (obviously); oil bearing plants such as linseed, sunflower and also cabbage family again (can try to plant brassicas on leaf and flower days to see the results).
Fruit crops: beans; peas; lentils; soya; maize; tomatoes; cucumber; pumpkin and courgettes.
So all that said this seems fairly easy and not too complicated at all, however when also combining this method with crop rotating it does get a bit complicated, because there are at least 8 categories of vegetables in the vegetable world and some cannot be sown in the same place for anything up to 3 years.
Brassicas: cauliflowers; brussel sprouts, calabrese; broccoli, kale; rocket, common oriental greens, swede, turnip, radish and kohlrabi
Alliums: Onion, spring onion, shallots, leeks, garlic and chives
Umbellifers: Carrot, parsnip, celeriac, celery, parsley, fennel and dill
Solanaceae: Potato, tomato, sweet peppers, cilli and aubergine
Cucurbitae: Cucumber, melon, courgette, marrow, squash, pumpkin and gourds
Legumes: Peas, broad beans, runner beans and french beans
Beets: Beetroot, spinach and chard
Other: Lettuce, chicory, endive and basil
I am following the three year crop rotation as I did in UK on my allotment, there are other systems, this one works for me.
Plot A : potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, toms, courgettes, pumkins, celery, fennel, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, melons, celeriac, salsify and scorzonera
Plot B : peas, beans sweetcorn, spinach, spinach beet, swiss chard, lettuce, chicory, endive, cress and artichokes
Plot C : Cabbages all brassicas, swedes, turnips, radishes and kohlrabi
Plot D : permamnet crops like rhubarb, fglobe and jeruselum artichokes, asparagus, sea kale and herbs
Plot D never moves, the other 3 (A, B and C) are carefully managed adding manure and blood,fish and bone to plot A.
Blood,Fish and Bone only to plot B. Blood, fish and bone and lime to plot C.
The following year Plot A becomes Plot B, Plot B becomes Plot C and plot C becomes plot A…………
Are you still awake?
So there, you can see how complicated it can be, keeping a very detailed plan of the garden really helps, I list varieties that I have grown and try to keep diary of what variety has worked and what hasn’t, how much was yielded etc. God it sounds anal but it works. Touching wood I have never suffered with blight or cabbage root fly or any other nasty diseases, yes it’s complicated but worth it and hey what else have I got to think about?
More later about green manures…..snore