Sunday, 1 May 2011

Rotation of Crops.

Whether you own an allotment , grow veggies in your yard or even just in a small back yard it's important to know that you should rotate your crops.

I was told by a friendly plotter right from me first getting my allotment that I should rotate my crops and that this would keep down soil borne pests and such that can sometimes attack your crops. There are only TWO exceptions that I know of to the plot rotation scheme. The first is that Runner Beans can be planted year after year in exactly the same spot. The second is if you're growing in bags or containers and will therefore be replacing the matter inside which the vegetables will be growing in.

If you know of any more exceptions to crop rotation then I would love to hear them, also for the novices out there....bushes, trees and shrubs do not have to be moved to a new location, we are talking annual veg for rotation.

When I was told about crop rotation I was told to do it three yearly which was fine until I got my other half of a plot, I didn't want to split both halves into three and split the contents over the two halves so I was a little stuck on what to do. That was until I read that there is actually a four course rotation, and that this is the best to follow.

Crop rotation isn't just about not planting the same thing twice but about how when rotated in a certain order the next crop will benefit form the previous. So starts my four course rotation scheme.

Obviously this is my first year and it can't be followed totally to the letter because of last years planting so I am going to class this as year one and work on from there.

I have split each of my plots in half which gives me my four sections. (1) section for potatoes, (2) for root vegetables (including onions), (3) for legumes (peas and beans etc) and (4) for brassicas.
Next year they will all get moved over one half to keep the rotation working.

Squash plants and sweetcorn can be slotted in anywhere but again shouldn't be grown in the same place year after year so I have chosen to put mine in with the root veggies and legumes...this may change as I see how the space grows but I am quite excited about this new system and the ease of planting up the different types of vegetables without being too restricted.

So this is how I will be working my plot form now on. It's a simple easy to follow plan which I am loving implementing as it means I can put in the right section what is ready as soon as it's ready and not worry about having to fit something in between at a later date.

So how do you all rotate your crops?? There isn't really an exact science to it and I adopted this theory as it was convenient for me so I would love to know what the rest of you do...especially as I am still quite new to this!!



  1. quite interesting. I've heard of crop rotation but never really thought much of it since I've never done much gardening. I'm planning on putting in a garden this year so I'll have to keep this all in mind if I continue next year. Your system sounds like a good one and i look forward to hearing how things go.

  2. I have to saw I'm afraid our plot rotation is a bit ad hoc. We don't grow things in the same place in subsequent years but don't always stick to the rules - it depends what room is available when crops are ready to plant out

  3. I always knew about crop rotation because my family all came from farms, but I didn't know when to do it. I would probably have forgotten if not for this. I know that one of these years I'll be planting somewhere.

  4. Interesting! Nice information for gardening, i like it..
    Thanks for sharing..Flowering Trees Tennessee

  5. I'm not that good at it, planning the plot is not my strongest point. A good dig over in Autumn exposing those pests to frosts is good practice.

  6. I follow a four year rotation, potatoes followed by legumes followed by brassicas (as they love all the nitrogen left in the soil by the legumes) followed by root crops. I have other beds for other crops and rotate these too.

  7. There are various schools of thought with crop rotation and I have given up on trying to decide which is the best, so it tends to be a bit random for me.

  8. I try to keep to the same four crop rotation as you mention but brassicas are always a bit of a problem as I seem to need two beds - one for harvesting and one for planting so that gets a bit muddled - until the pidgeons eat them all...
    I put squash in near the potatoes as this bed gets the most manure and both need some water but can in the main be ignored - my kind of vegetables!

  9. I will have to keep this in mind while planting a garden at my moms this year. My personal plants are in pots. I plan to learn much more on this stuff as I volunteer at a farm starting on Monday. Good luck!

  10. I have a 5-year rotation plan.

    It's the only way to be sure.


keep it clean...keep it relevant...I look forward to reading your comments!!