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Friday, May 3, 2013

Why You Should Rotate Your Crop

Why would you practice crop rotation for your vegetables? This is what Wikipedia says about it:

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar/different types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.
Crop rotation gives various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation also mitigates the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped, and can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants.
I came across this image at a New Zealand site that explains it quite well.

Every year you rotate between root and bulb, fruit and seed and leaf and stem vegetables. Here is a list of which vegetables belong to each group.

Root & Bulb 

  • carrots
  • parsnip
  • potatoes
  • beetroot
  • kohl rabi
  • radishes
  • onions
  • leek
  • garlic

Fruit & Seed

  • peas
  • beans
  • tomatoes
  • capsicum
  • sweet corn
  • eggplant
  • pepper
  • cucumber
  • endive
  • courgette - zucchini

Leaf & Stem

  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • lettuce
  • silver beet
  • spinach
  • brussels sprouts

Long-term crops such as asparagus and rhubarb are grown outside the rotation.

This works quite well with square foot gardening. Just draw a diagram of what you planted where and then rotate from year to year.

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