UNDERSTANDING CROP ROTATION

As we are now more and more cautious about what goes in to our food and where it comes from some of the old garden practises are becoming important again.  Crop rotation is one of these practises and it simply a method to increase the health of your plants, cut down on the use of chemicals and gives you a bumper harvest.

Crop rotation is all about not planting the same crops in the same ground year after year.  The principle behind this is that vegetables take their own special needs from the soil.  Growing the same crop in the same place year after year can exhaust the soil even though you are adding fertiliser. Rotating your crops ensures different demands are made on the soil each year. The other important point is that crop rotation will minimise the spread of disease and pest, many soil borne diseases and pests can be controlled by removing their favourite host plant. 

There are many different charts that cover the plant groups in more detail but for the home gardener the simplest way to think of crop rotation is to think of plant in families.  These families need to be plant in a different area each year.

There are four very board descriptions of these families:

A. Brasscias or Leafy plants - Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, silverbeet

B. Legumes – All plants where to seeds are eaten, peas, broad beans.

C. Potato Family - Potato, tomatoes   

D. Root Crops - Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery and beetroot

GARDEN PLOT YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4
A A- LEAFY CROPS D- ROOT CROPS C- POTATO FAMILY B- LEGUMES
B B- LEGUMES A- LEAFY CROPS D- ROOT CROPS C- POTATO FAMILY
C C- POTATO FAMILY B- LEGUMES A- LEAFY CROPS D- ROOT CROPS
D D- ROOT CROPS C- POTATO FAMILY B- LEGUMES A- LEAFY CROPS

 

There are some vegetable plants that are exempt from this chart as they suffer few problems these include:

  • Dwarf and runner beans.
  • Capsicums
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus (Can be planted in the sam plot for up to 20 years!)

 

Most importantly! Don’t forget to write your planting plan down as it is easy to forget!