By Taylah Montez
If you want to have a successful and most productive VEGETABLE garden, do crop rotation. Learn everything you need to know about it in this informative guide!
What is crop rotation? Crop rotation is the practice of dedicating a single spot in the garden or patch of land to only one type or family of vegetable or crop for a certain time period. Specifically, members of one plant family must never be planted in that same spot or area more than once in a period of four years.
Do you know crop rotation boosts the yield, prevent soil-borne diseases and weeds, and improves soil condition?
This is done for two reasons. First, this helps prevent the spread of soil-borne diseases and pests; second, doing so allows soil nutrients to be replenished and used properly. Read on to know more about the crop rotation benefits.
If you want to read more about the crop rotation benefits, head over to this educational website!
1. Disease Prevention
Garden insects and pests have a tendency of feeding on plants that are related to each other. For example, let’s say cabbage-eating insects have laid their eggs on the soil before death. If cabbage or another vegetable from the same family will be planted in that exact spot, those eggs will hatch and start feeding on the new plants, thus continuing the cycle. The same applies to soil-borne diseases like bacteria and fungi, and so by planting a different type of plant, you prevent pests and disease from re-emerging in the garden.
2. Prevent Soil Nutrient Depletion
Crop rotation can also help in preventing the depletion of soil nutrients. Crops grow when they absorb sufficient amounts of the following nutrients: phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. If plants from the same family are grown on the same patch of soil, expect more of those nutrients to be absorbed. As long as the same plants are raised on that section of the garden, those same nutrients will be absorbed, and eventually, they will be depleted.
For this reason, it’s usually recommended that soil-builders (like beans) and light feeders (like onions) are planted once those heavy nutrient absorbers are harvested. Below are details of different plant families and what crops to plant after them.
The Major Plant Families and When These Should Be Planted
- Onion Family – Light feeders, must be planted after the soil enrichers or heavy absorbers
- Cabbage Family – Heavy absorbers, should be planted after legumes. Once these have been harvested, you have three options: let the planting area be fallow for one season, plant a cover crop next, or add compost to your garden.
- Lettuce Family –Like the above, they are heavy nitrogen feeders. These must be followed with legumes.
- Beet Family – They also require lots of nutrients. Legumes must follow any member of this plant family.
- Grass Family – Follow these plants with any tomato family member.
- Bean Family –These are soil-building crops. You can plant these before or after planting any member of the other plant families.
- Tomato Family – Considered heavy feeders. Must be planted after grass family members. Legumes must follow these plants.
- Squash Family –Heavy absorbers of nutrients. These must be planted after grass family members and should be followed with legumes.
- Carrot Family –Light to Medium Absorbers. Plants in this category can follow members of any other plant group. You can let your garden sit for one season or you can follow these with onions or legumes.
With a few patches of soil, a highly reliable water tank for rainwater storage, and the above plan, you can start growing vegetables in your own home SUCCESSFULLY.