Why Is Crop Rotation Important？- Raised Garden Bed Related Knowledge
Why Is Crop Rotation Important？- Raised Garden Bed Related Knowledge
Instead of growing the same thing in your raised garden beds every year, diverse crop rotations can improve your garden ecosystem. Because after all, that’s the best thing to do: build an ecosystem. Crop rotation is a good opportunity to increase the diversity within your garden. Here's what Olle is going to talk about.
In this article, I will discuss the role of crop rotation in large-scale agriculture and how we can reduce it to small homesteads. Although not all benefits apply to small homesteads, crop rotation still has many benefits, such as improved soil health and a more diversified garden ecosystem.
Crop rotation gives us time as gardeners to try different crops in the garden. Planting new things will help us better understand new varieties of crops and technologies, and ultimately make us better gardeners.
What is monoculture?
Before discussing what crop rotation is, we first need to consider what monoculture is. Monoculture is a farming system in which one crop is planted at the same place every year. A typical single crop system involves continuous planting of maize. These multi-step systems are intensive processes occurring in mass production.
These are often cultivated before planting and after harvest. If you are curious about the details of farming, consider reading another article on Epic Gardening. Farming is especially destructive to the whole soil. Annual cultivation can prevent stable organic matter accumulation. For many reasons, farming is a destructive process, but reducing water infiltration and soil erosion are two. Farming exposes the soil, which may lead to runoff. This may happen several times a year, depending on the farmers.
In many large farms in the grain belt, farmers do not fertilize until the end of the season. At that time, the price of fertilizer was low, so farmers would buy and apply fertilizer in the off-season. When farmers plant cash crops in the spring, surplus nutrients, such as nitrogen (and some phosphorus), have been leached from the soil. During that time, other crops in the row became unavailable to the plant roots. In order to make up for the lack of nutrients, more fertilizers will be applied.
This row crop system is still productive, but ultimately destructive to the soil and environment. The study, published in PeerJ, outlines a study investigating peanut continuous cropping. They found that there were fewer kinds of bacteria in the surrounding soil and fewer beneficial bacteria. Although this study focuses on peanuts, other crops have similar effects on soil microbial community and soil structure as a whole.
A single crop is a process of planting the same thing every year, without crop rotation. The most common examples are corn or soybeans. These two crops are the largest in the United States. Single foreskin is a highly intensive process, which usually requires more fertilizers, tillage, herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals to mitigate plant diseases.
What is crop rotation?
Crop rotation is the opposite of monoculture. It is the planning sequence of different crops for a year or more. Crop rotation is different from mixed cropping and intercropping. These describe the practice of planting multiple crops at one time in the same place, which is also beneficial to the garden. Generally, the more diversified crop rotation is, the better the effect will be. Rotation can last for years. Usually, these systems try to keep the soil "green", which means there are always living plants on the ground.
Traditional systems rely on herbicides to stop covering crops in rotation, leaving residues on the surface. In organic matter, it is challenging to completely avoid large-scale farming. Limited chemical options make it difficult to control weeds during planting and harvesting. Even if farming is necessary, it is still beneficial to use crop rotation. Crop rotation is beneficial to soil, pests, pathogens and productivity.
Cover crops are a key part of any crop rotation. These crops are designed to cover the soil and improve soil health. They are usually planted in non growing seasons, but can be planted in unused fields. This section describes the main types and the importance of mixing them together.
peas and beans
A variety of crops fall into this category. They all have one thing in common: their relationship with nitrogen fixing rhizobia in soil. Nitrogen fixation is the process of absorbing nitrogen in the atmosphere and transforming it into plant usable compounds. This process is completed by these special bacteria and humans in the Hubble Bosch process to produce inorganic nitrogen fertilizer. These crops form nodules at the roots, as shown below. Nodules form when soil bacteria enter the roots of plants. Due to the compound, the interior of the active nodule has a red appearance, which is similar to human hemoglobin, but is found in bacteria. Examples of legumes include clover, beans, peas, alfalfa, and laver. Some tend to have more nodules than others.
For legumes, it is important to consider that if you fertilize them, they will not form these nodules. Rhizobia provide available nitrogen sources for plants in exchange for sugar. No nitrogen is needed (because it is provided by fertilizer), and plants do not accept bacteria. Therefore, nitrogen fertilizer should be avoided when planting these beans.
Growing legumes before planting heavy fodder and cash crops that use large amounts of nitrogen is a method close to rotation. This allows the following crops to obtain some nitrogen from legumes. It is important to plant crops after legumes because nitrogen is easily leached from the soil profile.
Brassica is a group of plants, including radish, radish, mustard, rapeseed and other plants in the cabbage family. Radish and rapeseed are two of the more common Brassica plants used as mulch crops. These crops have large taproots that remove excess nutrients and improve compacted soil. They also have good aboveground biomass, which helps to better control erosion to cover the soil. Feed radish (a kind of radish) is particularly good at this. The following figure shows the fodder/cultivated radish. These grow big roots, much larger than the typical root crops you see in the garden.
They are good at decomposing and compacting soil with impressive taproots, which penetrate into the soil and remove nutrients deep in the profile. When plants decompose, these nutrients can be used for the following crops. Rapeseed also has a strong root system and can do similar things. The cultivation of these crops will not cause soil disturbance and negative impact of cultivation.
Oats, rye, sudangrass, kenaf, rye, wheat and other small grains can be used as mulch crops. The veins of this crop have fibrous roots, usually with high biomass. They are particularly good at adding carbon to the soil and providing better erosion control. Fiber roots do a good job in keeping the soil together, and high biomass provides coverage for the soil. Once the next crop is planted, it can be used as mulch to control weeds and protect the soil.
Rye, wheat and rye are cold grains that you can grow in late summer. They grow a little in summer and autumn, and overwinter in spring. Oats are not so rich and will die in cold weather. This provides a natural way to end crops in the fall. Sudan grass and sunshine hemp are warm weather crops, which can be used as cover crops in the warm months after the spring crops. It all depends on the climate, because some places are much warmer than others. Consider your climate to determine when and what crops to use.
The importance of mixed mulch crops
Cover crops are great, and each type has a specific use. But they all have shortcomings, which is why mixing them will give you the best. Legumes add more nitrogen to the soil, but it is a low residue crop. Increasing crop residues will help reduce weed pressure and soil erosion. Brassica plants help to compact the soil and bring nutrients to the surface. Grass has better erosion control and adds carbon to the soil. Keep in mind that a higher carbon content will lead to a reduction in nitrogen. Combining these crops into a single mixture can bring benefits to each crop while eliminating their disadvantages. Usually mulch crops have been sold as a mixture, which makes it easy for home gardeners to use.
The timing and diversity of rotation vary. The following are some possible crop rotation methods used by farmers. A typical rotation is a two-year rotation of corn and soybeans. This rotation is better than planting corn only, but it still lacks diversity. Another rotation could be soybean, corn and wheat. However, another rotation may include tomato crops, mulch crop mixtures, and alfalfa. The possibilities of rotation are endless. Additional years can be added to include other crops for five or seven year rotations. The general rule of thumb is to have nitrogen fixing crops (legumes) before heavy breeders who use large amounts of nitrogen. These crops include vegetables and cash crops. Including legumes can reduce the required inputs and ultimately improve future crops.
In large farms, livestock is also an option. In addition to the production of crops, grazing land has also increased diversity and added nutrients to the field. Crops can grow for several years. The existing hay racks can then be used to graze sheep or cattle for the next few years. Then return to the vegetable family again.
Soil fertility and overall soil health are two things to improve crop rotation. Good soil health and lack of soil erosion are critical to the success of farmers and family gardeners. Keeping crops underground at all times allows for the accumulation of organic matter, especially when farming is limited. Crops are rotated and crop residues are left in the field, leaving most of the same nutrients in the system. This leads to a reduction in synthesis and organic inputs. By reducing erosion and increasing soil organic matter through crop residues and constant plant cover, nutrient pollution can be prevented and water quality of nearby water sources can be improved.
Diseases and insect pests
Another benefit of crop rotation is the management of pests and diseases, especially on large farms. This is very helpful when growing many crops in several different fields. Pest management requires that farming systems be considered as a whole. Integrated pest management is the key to understanding how to deal with pests. This is an all inclusive approach aimed at reducing the need for pesticides. Crop rotation is part of this approach. By rotating crops in several fields, the ability of pests to cause damage will be reduced. The traveling distance of pests to host plants increases, which is too far for many pests. They cannot live, so it is difficult to breed. The time between rotations helps to reduce pest populations. Reducing pests can reduce pathogens, because there are fewer vectors of disease.
The benefits of pathogen management through crop rotation are similar to those of pests. Some are transmitted through media, and some are transmitted through soil. Like diseases between humans and animals, not all diseases affect the same plants. Some diseases affect a wide variety of plants, but there are also many diseases that affect a small group of plants. In order to reduce the pathogen load, crops that are not affected by specific pathogens are rotated in the system.
Organic agriculture seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of synthetic inputs: pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Crop rotation to the field helps reduce pests and pathogens, so fewer of these chemicals are needed. Fewer pesticides mean better soil content and improved water quality of nearby water sources.
Many farmers have missed the goal of agriculture, which is to build an ecosystem in the process of food production. Diversification of crop rotation can increase beneficial organisms in ecosystems. As mentioned earlier, the addition of several crops in rotation will increase the diversity of microbial communities, which will benefit other plants over time. Many beneficial insects have specific crops that they are attracted to. Adding different plants allows more insects to find farms or gardens. Attracting more insects means attracting predators to reduce the possibility of pest populations. By building ecosystems, farms have increased resilience. This means that farms are more self-sufficient and can handle problems better.
Q: What is the rotation of 4 crops?
A: Four season crop rotation refers to bringing livestock grazing into the commonly used grazing system in the UK.
Q: What is good crop rotation?
A: There is no specific rotation that should be used by everyone. Crop rotation methods differ in length and diversity. General rule: plant heavy fodder after nitrogen fixing crops.
Q: What is 2-year rotation?
A: Two year crop rotation lasts for two years. The most common one involves a process, that is, corn is planted one year and soybean is planted the next year.
Q: Is crop rotation still in use today?
A: Yes! Crop rotation is found on many farms. The methods used vary widely in terms of crop rotation types and crops used. Two year corn soybean rotation is most common in the United States. Different crops and livestock are used in rotation for five years or more.