Crop rotation is a very important part of your vegetable garden each and every year. It can be an effective measure towards insect pest and disease control in the vegetable garden.
Let’s say you had potatoes planted in an area of your vegetable garden last year. You do not want to plant potatoes, or other plants in the same family as potatoes, in that same area again this season. You will want to plant something like beans (for example) in that area and move the potatoes in a different area.
Why Crop Rotation Is Important
What happens is harmful insect pests and diseases may build up in the area of the plant. They usually stick around during the winter and re-emerge in the spring. If you have the same plant, or a plant in the same family planted in that area again those bad guys will just be there waiting to attack it.
If you plant a different vegetable in that area the pests and diseases that are present may not be fond of that different vegetable plant and thus, have no real affect on it.
Crop rotation will also help to balance the soil nutrients which can reduce the need for fertilizers. This can save you a bunch of time and money throughout the season. For instance, root crops, like potatoes, can really sap the nutrients from the soil.
If you plant beans in the area where you previously had the potatoes, the beans can help replenish nitrogen levels in the soil. Beans are legumes, which fix nitrogen to the soil.
Common Vegetable Families
|Plant Family||Vegetable Names|
|Allium||garlic, chives, onion, leeks|
|Brassica||broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards|
|Cucurbit||cucumbers, melons, squash, pumpkin|
|Legumes||beans, peas, soybean, cowpea, chickpea|
|Nightshade||tomato, potato, eggplant, tomatillo|
When To Practice Crop Rotation
Attempt to practice crop rotation every time you plant vegetables in your garden space. Even if you have a very small vegetable garden space you should try to rotate the vegetables around each year as much as possible. You can even grow some vegetable varieties in containers to help the crop rotation process.
The best time to figure out crop rotation is when you are developing your vegetable garden plan for the season. You are writing up a garden plan, right? If not, I highly recommend you do!
Using the GrowVeg Garden Planning Tool is one of the best ways to manage crop rotation. It comes with a very useful alert to let you know that you plant vegetables in the same place the previous year, and gives suggestions for proper crop rotation.
Give GrowVeg a spin for free for 30 days and see how you like it. It’s one of the best tools I have in my gardening tool box.