Crop Rotation, Field Rest, and Biodiversity

Triple Wren Farms Dahlia Field

This is the 9th year we’ve grown dahlias in the big front field on our own farm. We grew them at another location for 5 years before that, and in both locations we’ve done a few things to keep our dahlia healthy and to avoid treating them like a mono-crop.

  • We’ve alternated walking aisles and dahlia beds every other year,
  • we’ve rotated out blocks of the field to let sections rest from year to year.

In case you don’t remember it from eighth grade science… farmers don’t grow the same crops on the same land year after year because different crops take different nutrients from the soil, and different crop attract different pests and diseases. When orchestrated carefully, crop rotation prevents soil and micro environmental stagnation.

In summer 2024 while we’re taking a break from our annual farm events and workshops, we are enriching and resting our front field and growing dahlias in the back section of our property. We haven’t had dahlias in the back field en masse since 2021, and have been building up that soil. This winter Steve has added lots of manure and other organic material to all our fields over the cover crops, and this spring/summer we’re planting another nourishing series of cover crops in the front field to give it some much-needed R&R.

Do you have a plan for rotating your dahlias from year to year in your garden? You don’t have to have a massive growing area to accomplish this! Simply switching ends of your growing space, interplanting other types of flowers or edibles, or at least amending your soil with compost and nourishing your soil with a lovely overwintered cover crop can help keep your garden’s soil lively and healthy. Healthy soil supports healthy dahlias!

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