Crop Rotation

 

Soil borne pests and diseases can become a problem if annual vegetables crops are grown in the same place year after year. A better system is to move crops around the growing area. This ancient practice called rotation is still used today to the benefit of the soil and the plants.

 

 

Crop rotation is also good because plants need nutrients in varying amounts and take them from different levels within the soil depending on the species and root depth. Varying the plants grown in a specific  area helps to make best overall use of the soil.  

 

 

Crops vary in the soil treatments that they require. When a crop rotation is used, crops that require the same soil treatments are kept together as much as possible. This helps to ensure that they have the best possible growing conditions. It also means that over the course of the rotation the whole growing area will receive the same treatment.

 

 

Manure and compost can be add to potatoes, leeks, brassicas and marrows. Do not use on carrot, parsnip and beetroot.

 

 

Lime if necessary to increase pH, add to cabbage family section in autumn before planting; this helps discourage clubroot. Keep away from potatoes because it could encourage scab.

 

 

Leafmould can be used anywhere, but particularly beneficial before root crops because it conditions the soil.

 

 

Crop rotation also helps to suppress weeds. Some plants have dense foliage like cabbage and lettuce, these are good at suppressing weeds because they stop light reaching the soil. Others, such as onion and carrot, do not. Alternating plants with these different growth habits helps to keep weeds under control.

 

Example of a Four Year Crop Rotation