Tips for Vegetable Crop Rotation
The ground is frozen and there is a layer of snow covering your garden plot. There’s simple not much to do outside in the way of gardening. However, this is a great time to start planning your garden for next year. I always like to sketch out what I want to plant and where I want to plant it. This is for two reasons.
- So I know what seeds to order (ordering by mid Feb. gets me a 10% discount).
- So I can properly rotate my vegetable crops.
Many gardeners practice crop rotation – and for good reasons.
- There is decreased insect and disease problems.
- It prevents soil from losing much needed nutrients.
There are different patterns or cycles you can follow – but here’s the cycle I follow.
Legume – Brassica – Root – Leaf – Potato – Corn – Fruit
Legumes are plants grown for their seedpods – like beans and peas. These leave the soil very high in nitrogen.
Next comes the brassica family which are your cabbage-type plants. This includes cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnips, and radishes. Since these require a high amount of nitrogen, they are a natural choice to follow legumes.
After the brassica family I plant my root vegetables. That means carrots, onions, beets, and garlic.
Following roots come the leaf crop. This is my lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard.
Next comes potatoes & corn – though I’m not too fussy about which comes first. It depends a little on what fits my garden best that particular year.
Finally, the last of the cycle is the fruits. Those are my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, and squash. After that, it’s back to the legumes.
That’s what I do anyway. I’m not going to claim its the best possible way – but it works for me. If you do things a little (or a lot different), I welcome your comments.