How To Rotate Your Crops.

Crop rotation is one of those essential tasks when it comes to growing fruit and vegetablexs. It is important not to grow the same family of crops in the same beds year after year as this can lead to a build up of pests that attack that particular family of plants. The best way to avoid this is to move the groups of plants around your garden year to year to prevent the pests from getting too comfortable in one spot. In order to do this, separate your crops into either a three or four year crop rotation plan based on the family of vegetables to which they belong. I follow a four year rotation as follows.

Brassicas:  cabbages, sprouts, brocolli etc.

Roots:  carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc

Legumes:  peas and beans etc

Alliums: onions, leeks garlic etc

I tend to keep my potato crop with my other root veggies but you can keep them as an entirely different crop in your rotation if you have the space.

Each year, I rotate my crops so the ground doesn’t grow the same type of crop for at least three years. If you are clever, you can ensure that each year, the crop that follows the one previous will benefit from the crop grown in that spot the year before. For example, brassicas are the best crop to plant where your legumes where the previous year as they benefit from the nitrogen rich soil left behind by your peas and beans.

It helps if you draw up a plan of your plot, however big or small it may be, and decide, before you plant anything, how you are going to rotate your crops over the following years. This also makes life easier when it comes to planning your plot in future growing seasons.

My rotation plan for 2014

My rotation plan for 2014

In the above image, you’ll see I’ve clearly marked which types of crops I plan to grow in each bed this year. My main rotation works among the 8 raised beds and runs in a clockwise direction, so last year, I grew alliums where the roots are going this year etc. I tend to grown my salad leaves in these beds when nothing else is growing there as to not waste any space during the growing season.

A good crop rotation can be difficult to maintain, particularly in a smaller garden but will pay off dividends in the long run.

If you want to ask me any further questions about crop rotation, or even give me some handy pointers or feedback, please get in touch below.

Happy Digging!

Fiona

 

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