Over the past two episodes, we discussed tools you can use to decide where your crops should be planted in a given season, but it's important to plan where to plant them from year to year. This week we are going to go over why you want to rotate and why certain crop families require more frequent rotation.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- Why rotate crops
- Which crop families are the most important to rotate
- Crop rotation is the practice of planting annual crops in different spaces each year to avoid pest and disease problems, and to use soil nutrients efficiently.
- To create a crop rotation plan:
- Make a list of all the crops you plan to grow
- Identify the major crop families that you’ll be growing
- Create a garden map and label where crop families are planted
- Move crop families around from year to year
- Aim for a 3-4 year crop rotation when possible
- In a small garden, true crop rotation is very difficult. The main thing to keep in mind is that there are several plant families that should be rotated to a new spot each year. Those families are:
- Alliums: Onions/Leeks/Scallions/Garlic
- Brassicas: Kale/Cabbage/Broccoli/Cauliflower/Collards
- Cucurbits: Summer Squash/Pumpkins/Winter Squash/Cucumbers
- Nightshades: Eggplant, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes
Here is a crop rotation planning example from our book, Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard:
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Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food.
Hi, my name is Kellie Phelan, and I've been gardening for about 3 years. I started with just a few containers, growing lettuce and peas and cherry tomatoes. I loved shopping in my backyard! Just a few steps out the back door and I was harvesting food for dinner. So, it seemed only natural to expand my garden and I'm working on fitting as many fruits and veggies as possible into my small city lot. I've made a lot of what I'll call 'valuable' mistakes - learning as I go, and Hilary has been an awesome resource. I am honored and excited to be a part of Encyclopedia Botanica, where I'll be chatting with Hilary, asking questions, and helping all of us get better at growing food.