Your Vegetable Garden: Crop Rotation

by Polly

The general rule of thumb for crop rotation in your organic vegetable garden is …never plant the same kind of crop, successively, in the same place. A good crop rotation plan is a sort of seasonal dance in which the crops move from spot to spot. It helps create a garden that is constantly new and intriguing.3428283735_6d3e766511_mjpg

Different plants take different things out of the soil and add other things. Rotation keeps your garden from getting exhausted of all the right nutrients.

Useful Tips In Planning Crop Rotation

Know the crop family your crops belong to (see chart below).

And, make sure you plant the next crop that belongs to a a family that will replenish what was eaten up by the previous crop.  Stop. Go back.  Reread this paragraph until it makes sense.  It’s important.  And,

Leave at least two (preferable 3) or more years between the times you plant members of the same crop family in the same area of your garden.

Here are the family names for common groups most often planted in vegetable gardens and ideas for rotating them.

Family Name Common Crops Rotation Relations
Allium Chive, garlic, leek, onion, shallot Rotate with legumes, but avoid planting in soil that contains undecomposed organic matter
Cucurbit Cucumbers,melons, squash, pumpkins, watermelons For improved weed and insect control, precede with winter rye. Follow with legumes.
Crucifer Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage,cauliflower, kale, radishes, turnips Heavy feeders. Precede with legumes; follow with compost
Legume Beans, clovers,peas, peanuts Beneficial to soil and have few pest problems. Rotate alternately with all other garden crops whenever possible.
Solanaceous Eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes Heavy feeders with many fungal enemies. Precede with grass; follow with legumes
Umbelliferae Carrots, parsley, dill, fennel,coriander, parsnip Moderate feeders. Precede with any other plant family, but condition soil with compost before planting. Follow with legumes or heavy mulch

The concept is very simple! Keep a notebook of where your crops are planted from year to year.

This is a sure fire way to keep your crop rotation in line!

Crop rotation can also break the cycles of pest and disease problems that build up in soils planted repeatedly to the same crop.

The idea is to plan your rotation so that no two crops are subjected to similar diseases.

The same principle holds for insect pests; crop rotation makes it harder for emerging insects to find their preferred food each spring

Want to know more  about garden plans and crop rotation?

Click here  overview of crop rotation and click here  benefits of crop rotation.   And,

Follow me and tweet me in Tweeter and Facebook links up above on the right side.

Yours truly for a great garden with outstanding  berries,  herbs, veggies and flowers.

Polly, Organic Gardener

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

DontheDad March 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thank You for the site.
I have been gardening for 40 years now and the more I learn the more I learn I don’t know nothing…..
Where did you learn all this good stuff???

Heidi March 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I have had my vegetable garden for 3 years. The first year was AMAZING and I don’t have a green thumb in any sense of the word. The second year was good and then I heard about crop rotation. So, last year I rotated the crops and only part of my garden grew. It grew curved pattern with the first two rows only growing about half way, then each row grew a little bit taller than the next creating an arch pattern. I’ve searched everywhere but haven’t come across any explanation as to why this may have occured. Do you have any suggestions?

Noreen April 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I tried to create a flowchart from your recommendations and found that (almost) everything should be followed by legumes. I don’t need that many legumes in proportion to the rest of the garden. Are there other options than legumes for some of the families?

Rett July 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I am hooked. Love the presentation.

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