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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