Fully-enclosed Crop-rotation Veggie Garden




Introduction: Fully-enclosed Crop-rotation Veggie Garden

This is a project that my family and I started in 2008, and it certainly isn't finished yet. (do gardens ever really finish? There's always more weeding to do :)
There are many useful websites with info pertaining to crop rotation, such as Gardening Know How , for example.
The basic idea behind the layout of the garden is that crops can grow in one area, while the chickens are allowed to dig through the soil in another, while the third section is prepared for the next crop to be planted later in the season.

I designed the main structure using Google SketchUp 6, and I'm still working out the finer details for the chook house/tool shed.
The SketchUp model can be viewed and downloaded from here.
We will be planting our third lot of vegetables soon; so far we have grown pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinis, carrots, peas, corn, broad beans, snowpeas, parsley, lettuce, spinach and silverbeet; some more successfully than others.

If you want to share notes on your own experiences with crop-rotation, or if this inspires you to start your own garden; let me know, and feel free to share some pics of your own in the comments too.

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    8 Discussions

    It all looks nice, but it seems terribly over engineered to me.

    What is the rationale to raise the beds and to cover everything???

    How much of an investment (time, money) did you have to make?

    I myself cover strawberries, cherries and some young plants with nets on a temporary frame, but why this radical solution?

    2 replies

    I talked to my dad, so here's some more useful info for you.

    We needed a large garden because we have a family of seven. People who grow veggies and fruit in our area battle with birds and possums. Possums in particular can be a lot of effort to deal with successfully. If you use netting to keep birds away then you have to put it on and take it off each season. So our solution, although expensive, means we don't have to worry about those things.

    Keeping chooks can also pose a problem, as we have brown snakes and foxes around here. The wire we chose keeps out foxes and most snakes.
    We found it hard to decide what gauge of pipe to use; but if we had used a smaller gauge we would have had to have more supports, and its the connectors that are the expensive part.
    Being fully enclosed meant we were able to easily add overhead sprinklers. However the wire and framing added up to about $3500. Maybe we got a bit carried away, but in our environment it should last for many years. We also added an electric pressure pump at the dam which was another $1000. It's identical to the pump for our house and was actually used as a temporary back-up for it while that one was being fixed.


    Thanks everyone for all your comments and questions.
    Hopefully I can supply some sufficient answers :)
    The beds are raised because the ground underneath has a high clay content, so we bought some better soil from a local rural-supplies store. This also helps with the drainage of rainwater from the area.

    It took 2-5 people around 2-3 weeks to put the main structure up and get the wiring done, however we didn't work on it every day.

    I'm not sure of the cost of the materials, as I didn't get too involved in that side of the project; I mostly just worked on drawing up the design, figuring out how many of which parts were needed, and then finally digging holes and concreting poles in the ground.
    I'm sure that different people would have done it differently, but the bottom line is that it works well enough for what it was designed to do.

    This is great info! Our situation is that we have strong winds all the time, so we're adding polycarbonate walls to block out the wind. Will upload pics when we have it done.

    1 reply

    That sounds like a good idea, so long as it doesn't block too much precipitation. I guess that would depend upon the size of the garden. I'll be looking out for the pictures :) Oh, and nice work on your Chocolate Faberge Eggible. I can see that you've put a lot of skill and effort into both the presentation itself, and the way in which you presented it ;)

    That looks like a lot of work and you are to be commended for doing it! It's the end result that counts, no matter what it takes, right? good ible!

    If the chicken coop were in the center and round or hexagonal you could have six identically shaped gardens around it, but you would need six garden gates.

    I've noticed that some of the image notes are being drawn in the wrong place occasionally, but they fix themselves if I click the picture a second time in the filmstrip. It seems to happen particularly when the picture I'm changing to is a different size. The note boxes as a group are being squashed up towards the top of the image, or stretched down and off the bottom of the image.
    I don't know if anyone else is experiencing the error; but if so, just click on the picture's thumbnail again and it should sort itself out.