Crop Rotation Guide or Ways to Arrange Your Garden to Get the Most from It

Every person passionate about gardening needs to have a crop rotation guide they can follow to plan the way they plant their vegetables. Crop rotation represents a systematic approach that helps you decide which crop you can choose to plant and where. The main goal of the crop rotation technique is to help you manage the organic soil fertility.

Furthermore, this also helps you reduce or even avoid certain problems regarding soil-borne diseases while also annihilating soil-dwelling insects. It does not matter whether you are just a home gardener or a large-scale organic farmer. As long as you are passionate about your hobby and you want to grow fresh and healthy vegetables, crop rotation is the key.

This method will benefit your harvest and replenish the soil. By familiarizing with a crop rotation guide, you will be able to develop your own crop rotation plan according to your needs. Specialists in gardening indicate that different crops have distinct nutrient requirements. Furthermore, they also affect the balance of the soil in a different way. For instance, tomatoes and corn and many others like them, are heavy feeders.

The fertility of the soil

Hence, they quickly deplete the phosphorus and nitrogen in the soil. In case you plant corn in the same spot a few years in a row, that particular plot of soil will no longer contain phosphorus and nitrogen. It will run out of these substances a lot quicker than other parts of your garden. However, if you change the location of corn or tomatoes on an annual basis, you will actually renew the plot where it grew the year before. In this way, your soil will not get out of balance.

Numerous crops tend to use up nitrogen, depleting the soil too. The list contains leafy crops like cabbage and lettuce. On the other hand, herbs and root vegetables are light feeders. Legumes like beans and peas actually add nitrogen to the soil, but they consume a lot of phosphorus. Hence, you need to avoid planting the same general crop category of crop successively in the same place.

A smart way to do this is to follow nitrogen-fixing legumes (beans, peas) with nitrogen-feeding leaf crops (tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce). The next year, you can follow the heavy-feeding crops with some light-feeding root ones.

Plant-killing pests

Owning a large home garden might have you thinking about planning a crop rotation relying on plant families instead of their nutrient needs. This method can help you prevent pests and diseases since crops in the same botanical family could be affected by the same problems. For instance, Colorado potato beetles usually eat potato plants, eggplant foliage, and tomato leaves.

These insects can remain in the soil over winter and attack your next crop of potato next year if you plant it in the exact same spot. Furthermore, other fungal and bacterial diseases can stay put during the winter, in plant debris in the soil. In order to control soil-borne problems, you have to consider lengthy crop rotations. For example bean anthracnose fungus can remain in the soil for three years. Therefore, you will need a four-year rotation to keep this disease away from your crops.

Different types of flowers planted in a garden

Crop rotation guide

Generally, the likelihood of certain diseases and pests runs in plant families. Therefore, it is best if you leave two to three years between the times you plant the same crop family in the same spot again. When you want to plan a crop rotation scheme, make sure you acknowledge the seven family groups that people plant in vegetable gardens.

Group 1

Garlic and onions are part of the same family. It is better if you rotate these crops with legumes. Furthermore, you should avoid planting them in soil containing undecomposed organic matter.

Group 2

This group of plants contains coriander, fennel, dill, parsley, parsnips, and carrots. For your crop rotation plan, you should consider preceding these moderate feeders with any plant family you want. Make sure you condition the soil with compost before planting another crop. Hence, you can plant heavy mulch or legumes here.

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Group 3

Turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli are part of the same family. Considering that this is a group of heavy-feeding plants, your garden will need a high level of soil maintenance for good root health. Then, you should consider planting legumes the next year in this spot. Before planting another crop, you need to cultivate the soil in order to expose pests to predation. Then, spread compost and everything is now set.

Group 4

This family group includes watermelons, pumpkins, squash, melons, gourds, and cucumbers. For your crop rotation plan, you can improve pest control by preceding these plants with wheat or winter rye and then follow with legumes.

Group 5

This family group features vetches, clovers, pear, and beans. Any gardener would be glad to hear that these plants generally have few pest problems and they are beneficial to soil. You should rotate them alternatively with other garden crops.

Group 6

Corn, rye, oats, and wheat are part of the same plant family. If you plant these plants before tomato crops, you will be able to control weeds while also improving the ability of soil to handle water.

Group 7

This group of plants features tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant. They have numerous fungal enemies, and they are heavy feeders. You should consider preceding these crops with grass or cereals grain and then follow with legumes.

Summing up

In order to improve soil fertility and to get rid of plant pests and disease, you need to consider a crop rotation guide. Such a guide will help you learn which plant families you need to rotate and how. Some of them are heavy feeders while others are moderate feeders. You need to know the plant families in order to know which plant family is appropriate to precede another on your soil plots.

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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