A question mostly asked; what is crop rotation importance: To help control pests and diseases it is a good idea to grow families of vegetables in separate plots and move them around(rotate) them each year.
E.g Year 1; Potato family – Carrot family – Cabbage family – Pea & bean family
Year 2; Pea & bean family – Potato family – Carrot family – Cabbage family
This means that all the plants from the potato family would go in one area and all the plants from the carrot family in another as shown in the diagrams above.
Crop Rotation Importance: Why use crop rotation?
- Moving crops around helps stop the build up of pests and diseases which are found in the soil
- Plants need nutrients in different amounts and take them from different parts of the soil. Changing the crops in an area means that nutrients in all parts of the soil are used.
- Families of vegetables often need similar nutrients (food). Keeping families together means that crops get the best growing conditions.
- Some plants have dense foliage (leaves which are close together and lots of them). These plants help to stop weeds growing. Changing from plants that do not have dense foliage, to those that do the next year, will help to keep the weeds down.
Crop Rotation Importance: How long should the rotation last?
The longer the rotation the better, but the normal length is 4 years. The first 2 years of a 4 year rotation is shown opposite.
Crop Rotation Importance: Planning a rotation:
You can find examples of crop rotation in many gardening books. However, you can design your own by following these steps.
- Make a list of all the vegetable types and number of plants that you want to grow.
- Group the plants together in botanical families. The chart on the back of this leaflet shows you which plants belong in which families.
- Draw a plan of the growing area. Divide into equal sections. You need as many sections as the number of years you want the rotation to last. So far for a four year rotation you need four sections.
- Work out which crops are going in which area. Families should be together, but if you have more than one crop for an area, then choose plants with similar growing needs.
- Keep records of what actually happens, not just what you planned. Use this information when planning for next year.
Crop Rotation Importance: Reasons for rotation?
Pest and disease control; Plants which belong to the same family are grouped together when planning a rotation. Related crops are prone to the same soil living pests and diseases. Moving them around in an organized rotation helps to prevent the build up of problems.