Crop Rotation in the Veggie Patch
Used to have successful harvests but now having difficulty getting even a fraction of the garden productivity that you used to? Are you finding that pests and disease are a bigger problem than they used to be? One possible reason is that you are not practicing Crop Rotation.
In short, it is not healthy for the plants in your vegetable patch and therefore their productivity to grow the same or similar types of plants in the same area of your veggie patch year after year. Put simply, doing this, diminishes specific nutrient types and accumulates certain pests - and remember; the less healthy a plant is, the lower its yield and the more susceptible to diseases it will be.
The basic principles of crop rotation are:
- legumes such as peas and beans are adapted to soils low in nitrogen - they do not deplete soil of its nitrogen. In fact they add nitrogen to the soil.
- Leafy vegetables such as brassicas, lettuce, spinach and corn require a lot of nitrogen - grow them in a bed that had legumes growing in it the year before.
- Root vegetable have less need for nitrogen. Therefore, grow them in a bed that has already produced the previous year’s leafy vegetable crop.
- Members of the solanaceae family (tomatoes, egg plant, chillis) are susceptible to nematodes. The longer they are grown in the same soil, the more likely nematodes will become a problem. Therefore, do not allow them to grow in the same soil for more than a year and then allow the bed to lie fallow for 12 months.
The included diagram illustrates a 6 bed crop rotation system that you should find useful.