An easy (but essential) guide to crop rotation

CropRotationThink of it like this: if you wear the same pair of jeans day in day out, they’ll end up knackered.

Vegetables are the same: grow the same crops in the same place every year and they’ll soon wear out the soil (and then nothing will grow any more.)

The idea of crop rotation is to avoid growing vegetables from the same family, in the same spot year after year, as this can lead to a build up of pests and diseases and cause the soil to become exhausted.

So, if you want to get the best out of your allotment or veg plot, here’s an easy to follow system of crop rotation.

First, group your vegetables into the following categories:

  • Alliums ( onions, shallots, garlic, leeks.)
  • Legumes (peas, beans and broad beans.)
  • Brassicas (cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and swede.)
  • Roots (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot

Next, divide your vegetable garden into four different sections (either physically, or just on paper, or even in your head)  and decide which group of vegetables you want to grow in each section. Then simply move them on one place each year as illustrated below.

Year 1                 Year 2             Year 3              Year 4

Bed 1     Alliums                Legumes          Brassicas          Roots

Bed 2     Legumes             Brassicas         Roots                     Alliums

Bed 3     Brassicas             Roots              Alliums               Legumes

Bed 4     Roots                   Alliums            Legumes            Brassicas

Finally, crops which don’t fit into any of the above main categories such as: lettuce, cucumbers, courgettes, squash and tomatoes, can be grown wherever there is space, so fit these in wherever you can.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t  stick to a completely rigid scheme. The important thing is to remember what you’ve grown in each bed and try to grow something different there for the next two or three years.  Your soil will thank you and hopefully your plants will reward you too.

About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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Comments

  1. A handy guide, I need to start planning where to grow things this year.

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