If a particular plant variety is grown in the same place each year, you might start to notice pesky garden bugs or garden diseases pop up. Luckily, this is preventable with the use of crop rotation. Crop rotation is one of the oldest tricks in the seasoned gardeners’ book because of its many known benefits.
The concept of a crop rotation is to keep garden pests and plant diseases out of your garden by switching the location of your crops each year. The idea is that moving the crops prevents pests and diseases from living in the garden soil.
For example, moving your tomatoes across the garden will throw off the garden pests who have begun to build up into the soil. Growing them in the same place in back-to-back years makes them a target for problems in the garden.
Advantages of Crop Rotation Planning
Not only does crop rotation ward off garden pests and diseases, but it also enhances the health of your garden soil, increases your yields, and makes your garden less susceptible to erosion.
Crop rotation is also good for the environment in that it minimizes greenhouse gas emissions. With more nutrient-rich soil, it decreases the need for fertilizer use, which in turn cuts greenhouse gas emissions.
How to Rotate Crops for Garden Success
A full crop rotation cycle should ideally take place every three to four years, but some gardeners go up to seven years. Wait as long as possible to return your plant varieties to a location they’ve previously been in.
Plan your crop rotation based on the vegetable varieties you plant, making sure that vegetable crops in the same family should not be planted in the same place in back to back years.
This is because different plant varieties use the soil in different ways, take in different nutrients. Changing the location will balance out the nutrients in the garden, allowing the soil to thrive. For example, if the plant family is Legumes, which consists of beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils, they shouldn’t be planted in the same place in consecutive gardening seasons.
One simple method of crop rotation is to divide your vegetable families into four basic groups; legumes, root crops, fruit crops, and leaf crops. Once divided, rotate each group clockwise each season. If your vegetable garden is smaller or you simply don’t want to plant that many vegetable varieties, the rotation might include vegetables from only one or two plant families instead of multiple.
Crop Rotation Planning Using a Vegetable Garden Planner
Crop rotations make vegetable garden planners like Hortisketch extremely useful because of how frequently garden planning is needed when rotating crops.
Start by designing your garden, making sure to label where each plant is going so that you can refer to it for the next time you rotate your crops. This makes it easy for the process of crop rotation, eliminating the need to remember where your plants were by memory. Instead, using garden planning software like Hortisketch will remember the information for you.
Hortisketch also makes it possible to store information like which family each vegetable belongs to. Having all this information readily available to you when you start planning your new garden design for crop rotation purposes will make the process much smoother.
Garden Planning with Garden Savvy’s Hortiketch
Hortisketch makes it possible to plan, build and share your online virtual garden to make your garden dreams come true. Hortisketch provides a variety of plant icons, accurate growing and spacing information, and a calendar based on your growing zone.
The planting and spacing guide will help you properly scale your garden based on each plant’s needs. Need to remember that favorite supplier? Or which plant variety did best? Store all of this information in the Hortisketch notes section.
Gardeners grow at Garden Savvy! We provide gardeners with the best tools to plan a garden, organize a garden, and research a garden, with Hortisketch, our Garden Manager and our catalog of gardening Suppliers. Get started on your dream garden today
- Plan Your Crop Rotations with a Vegetable Garden Planner like Hortisketch
- C.L. Fornari Interview
- Bring Butterflies and Bees to Your Garden with these Beautiful Native Plants
- Garden Design Fundamentals for Beginner Gardeners
- Garden Ideas: Choosing a Garden Color Scheme to Enhance your Overall Garden Design