If you garden an acre or a small urban plot, crop rotation it not only important but necessary for premium growing results. As far back as the 17 th. century the Amish practiced this discipline to ensure self-sufficiency within their communities.
What is Crop Rotation
Crop rotation is the simple act of changing the location of your vegetable crops from year to year. The basis is to grow closely related vegetable crops in a new area each year. Your three main vegetable families are: 1) salad crops, onions, beans and peas 2) root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and beets 3) the cabbage family including turnips, and sprouts.
Why use Crop Rotation
Crop rotation helps to build a well-balanced healthy soil and as well as to reduce the problems of pests and disease. By growing your vegetables in their own group you can treat the soil to benefit those plants without harming those with different requirements. Disease and insects that might live in the soil over the winter months will emerge in the spring to find their food source is no longer there. Crops also deplete the soil of their own required nutrients, therefore by moving the crops around the soil deficiencies can be corrected. Crops also utilize different layers of the soil and break the soil up in different ways. Crop rotation helps to spread these benefits around your vegetable garden.
How to Crop Rotate
Many different styles of crop rotation exist, some of which can become quite detailed and laborious. For the average urban garden I like the 3 plot method. Simply divide your garden into 3 areas, one for each family of vegetables. Each growing season a vegetable group is moved one plot clockwise. This insures that the same vegetables are not grown in the same soil for a 3 year cycle. It helps to keep a record of plantings in your garden journal with the year date for future reference. (photos by pixabay) (Amazon disclosure: Some of these links go to my affiliate account at Amazon.com )
(some photos are compliments of Pixabay)