Crop rotation in the vegetable garden: why, when, how?


Many gardeners practice therotation or rotation of crops in the vegetable garden as this has advantages at different levels. It is indeed interesting to take advantage of abundant crops without having to treat your plantations against pests or to fertilize your soil excessively. Let’s find out what are the main reasons for the crop rotation, how often to vary the location of plants and how to best manage the arrangement of vegetables to preserve soil fertility.

Why practice crop rotation (or rotation) in the vegetable garden?

If you want to succeed in your vegetable garden without abusing treatment products, the best solution is to opt for crop rotation or crop rotation. It consists of do not grow the same vegetables in the same place two, three or even four or six years in a row. It is of course necessary to take into account the plants. Crop rotation allows:

  • To naturally prevent the risk of parasites or even diseases that can ruin a vegetable garden in a very short time.
  • Of limit soil nutrient depletion. Rotation helps prevent soil depletion since greedy vegetables change plot year after year and are replaced by plants that are not very demanding or even enrich the soil.

Prevention of pests and diseases through crop rotation

Opt forrotation is necessary since this disrupts the life cycle of parasites. It is therefore the best way to get rid of it naturally. It should be understood that by always cultivating the same family of vegetables on the same plot of land, undesirable people of all kinds find there something to thrive and reproduce, so that we suffer their assaults from year to year, and the problems grow over time, shrinking crops.

Let us not forget that many unwanted people survive very well from year to year in the earth. Because they are generally specific to a very particular botanical family, if you do not practice crop rotation, you have no chance of dislodging them.

Protect soil balance through crop rotation

If we neglect crop rotation, we also find ourselves confronted with another problem concerning plant nutrition. Indeed, by dint of drawing the same nutrients from the soil, they end up impoverishing it, and it is therefore no longer able to meet the nutritional needs of the plants in the kitchen garden.

The fact of rotating his crops allows the gardener to cultivate for several years on the same plot plants that have different nutritional needs. In this way, it also avoids the accumulation of toxins, since all plants without exception release them into the soil and this becomes detrimental after a few seasons.

When to alternate the plants in the vegetable garden?

A little organization makes it easy to rotate crops from year to year. To do this, gardeners with good experience in this field recommend divide your vegetable garden into several plots, one of them can be reserved for fallow in order to allow the soil to recover. On the other hand, we do not recommend leaving bare soil for too long, especially in winter, because it risks eroding.

For example, if we choose to create seven plots, six are cultivated each year but we must ensure that our plantations are rotated so as not to install the same vegetables on the same plot for several years in a row.

It is of course ideally necessary to take into account certain characteristics of the plants concerned so that the rotation is really beneficial to all. There are greedy plants which considerably weaken the soil, others on the contrary which enrich it with nitrogen and plants which are not greedy at all, being satisfied with little.

Vegetable garden plants not affected by crop rotation

Vegetable garden plants that fall into the category of perennial plants remain in place for several years in a row. We no longer present artichokes, strawberries or even a number of aromatics such as parsley, basil, thyme … All these plants, like rhubarb for that matter, settle preferably at the ends of the vegetable garden or on the edges, since they are not affected by the rotation.

How to organize your crop rotation in the vegetable garden?

Alternating vegetable plants while respecting a certain logic is essential for take advantage of your garden. Everyone has every interest in respecting an ideal cycle of rotation according to the families of plants. To do this, it is essential to classify the plants by family so that all those which have both a similar root system and identical needs cannot be planted in the same place for several years in a row. This is ultimately not rocket science, as we can see from the following example.

Plots

Years

1time year

2th year

3th year

4th year

5th year

6th year

P1

Improving plants

Plants susceptible to cabbage root rot

Leafy vegetables

Fruit vegetables

Root vegetables

Potato

P2

Plants susceptible to cabbage root rot

Leafy vegetables

Fruit vegetables

Root vegetables

Potato

Improving plants

P3

Leafy vegetables

Fruit vegetables

Root vegetables

Potato

Improving plants

Plants susceptible to cabbage root rot

P4

Fruit vegetables

Root vegetables

Potato

Improving plants

Plants susceptible to cabbage root rot

Leafy vegetables

P5

Root vegetables

Potato

Improving plants

Plants susceptible to cabbage root rot

Leafy vegetables

Fruit vegetables

P6

Potato

Improving plants

Plants susceptible to cabbage root rot

Leafy vegetables

Fruit vegetables

Root vegetables

To better understand this example of crop rotation in the vegetable garden over a period of 6 years, it is useful to know a little more about the different groups of plants that appear there.

  • The improver plants : this group includes, for example, broad beans, lentils, beans, green beans, peas, chickpeas, etc. These plants are said to improve because they fix atmospheric nitrogen and therefore enrich the soil. They can all do without amendment, as is also the case with “green manures”, that is to say clover, alfalfa or even sainfoin.
  • The plants susceptible to cabbage root rot : these are among others green cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, head cabbage, cauliflower, rutabaga, radish, turnip. Note that cabbage hernia is a fungal disease.
  • The leafy vegetables : these are salads (endive, watercress, lettuce, chicory, dandelion, etc.), spinach, leek, fennel, celery or even basil. They are greedy in nitrogen.
  • The fruit vegetables : we find cucumber, pickle, tomato, pepper, eggplant, chili, squash … If it is recommended to grow them on a new plot each year it is because they exhaust the soil in nutrients.
  • The root or bulbous vegetables : carrot, parsnip, beet, tuberous parsley, turnip, salsify, marshmallow, burdock, radish are part of this category. They like to be grown in organic manure. They draw nitrogen fairly deep from the soil. We can also add to this category the onion, garlic and shallot which need few nutrients.
  • The potato : it is moderately greedy in nutrients. Its cultivation enriches the soil with nitrogen and aerates the soil. The potato is therefore beneficial to arable land.

It’s good before sowing and planting that you have to establish your crop rotation plan so as not to be caught off guard. And the fact of anticipating sufficiently is important to simplify the task. It certainly requires a little thought at the beginning, but after a few years, you end up gaining a great experience. With sufficient knowledge in the field of rotation, it is then possible to modify the plots at their convenience. By applying the right principles, the gardener can easily maintain fertile soil and protect his crops against pests and diseases.