Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Crop Rotation

When you hear the word "crop rotation", what do you think of? No, it doesn't spin the corn in a circle to increase yield. This is not an arcane art in the field. Crop rotation is a method to improve the soil, improve the resistance of crops to pests and increase the yield, all of which are achieved by carefully selecting the location of crops. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Now, most people who read as family gardeners will have no vast land to deal with. If you are a gardener in the city or suburbs, you will see many garden plots instead of several acres of land. Even if you start small or maintain your current food garden for your family, it is important to consider where you grow it every year. The real meaning of crop rotation is to change the planting location.

raised garden beds

Benefits of crop rotation

Like people, your crops like to eat different things. Each crop can also add different things to the soil. For example, solanaceous plants are often heavy eaters. Eggplant and tomatoes are part of the family. If you plant them in the same place every year, your soil will become tired, and your crops will not be so good as time goes by. If you plant them in different places and supplement the soil with other crops, your yield will be good. Many people use soil improvement crops such as beans to restore tired soil. Legumes are very beneficial to the soil and are often used as mulch crops or crops to restore soil that has run out of nitrogen. The following is more information about beans as mulch crops.

Crops will also attract different pests and diseases. If you plant peas year after year in an area, you will send out a long-term invitation to all the insects to visit your peas. If you plant tomatoes in the same place year after year, the tomato wilt disease will live in your soil and infect your tomatoes again and again. Changing the position of crops is tricky, but it is effective. See more information about how crop rotation prevents pests.

How to rotate crops

You are attracted by the idea of crop rotation. But how did you start? First, make an inventory of the crops you usually grow in your garden. Draw a map of the garden. Where do you grow these crops now? Are they in different places every year? Are they scattered around the garden or in a specific place? Create a mini map of the garden showing light, shadow, wet and dry areas. Make a note of where perennial plants are grown. Take this map to the next step - design crop rotations for the garden.

Crop to rotate

How do you know what crops to rotate? Your garden needs to balance soil conditioner, heavy feeder and light feeder. It also requires a variety of plants so that you can easily rotate crops without attracting the same pests to all crops in the garden.

What do you have in your garden now?

Onions, garlic, grains, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and pumpkins are heavy eaters in the garden. To accommodate these plants, you need to have compost rich soil and increase it regularly. If these crops do not rotate through the garden beds, they will tire the soil.

Radish, radish, beet, beet, carrot and dill are light eaters. You don't have to worry about these crops depleting the soil, although some crops such as carrots attract pests and should be moved regularly.

Peas, broad beans, mint, basil and sage can improve the soil. Legumes are particularly good for the soil. Even if you do not plan to eat this agricultural product, you need to integrate it into the garden plot to add nitrogen.

Crop rotation plan

Crop rotation is usually completed in a three to four year plan. This is enough to complete the rotation of replenished soil and is short enough to ensure that you will stay in the garden space.

Common crop rotations include:

First year: peas or other beans Second year: onions, carrots and tomatoes Third year

Year: Potatoes and other root vegetables

First year: rhizome vegetables

The second year: Brassica plants, such as broccoli, the third year

Year: Other crops

The first year: green leafy vegetables like lettuce

Year: Radish and light food container

The third year: beans

You do not have to follow the official planting plan. If you want to make your own plan with your favorite vegetables, here are some tips to make your plan easier.

Select a crop or a group of crops as the focus of a particular bed and plan around that crop.

Plan around crop diseases and try to avoid planting crops experiencing the same disease on all beds. In this way, next year you can move the crops to another bed that will not carry diseases.

Plant heavier feeders after beans because the soil will be rich in nitrogen.

Try to use rhizome vegetables and shallow root vegetables alternately to make the soil have multiple root structures.

raised garden beds

Garden design, convenient for rotation

Although it's easy to talk about crop rotation, if you don't design your garden beds well, the reality of crop rotation seems daunting. This is where garden design comes into play. Work with your space.

Are you going to choose a three-year rotation? If so, learn about three places that are suitable for your plant. Create semi shade beds for lettuce, peas and other crops. Choose a sunny place to grow tomatoes, pumpkins and other crops.

Plant crops of the same family together, or plant plants with similar habits and needs together. Also add their companion plants, either nearby or on the same bed. Companion plants help drive out pests and attract pollinators.

Determine where you can grow certain crops well and develop garden beds in these locations, then design crop rotations around this garden.

While it may seem easy to rely on fertilizers and pesticides to increase crop productivity, these technologies will weaken your soil in the long run. Choosing the old-fashioned crop rotation technology will help your garden plants complete the soil construction work for you. If you make a reasonable garden plan and stick to it, you will find that the crop yield and insect resistance have been greatly improved, and no chemicals have been added to your food garden.