Successive Planting and Crop Rotation

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This article will help you successfully select and rotate vegetable crops.
by Brett · All Zones · Food Gardens · 0 Comments · August 24, 2010 · 64,881 views

Successive Planting and Crop Rotation

Vegetable Crop Rotation Chart 2
Because of the relatively long growing season in the southern region, it is possible to produce more than one crop a year on the same land. Planting a second or third crop on the same land within the same growing season is called successive cropping. Crop rotation, on the other hand, refers to planting different vegetables on the same land from year to year. Related vegetables should not be planted on the same land in succession or rotation. For example, squash should not be followed with a related vegetable such as watermelon, cantaloupe, or cucumber. This practice helps minimize insect and disease problems and helps maintain soil fertility.

Crop rotation has been used by farmers for many years. Crop rotation now is commonly used by gardeners to control diseases and insects in the vegetable garden. It is also used to build up the organic matter and soil nutrients that certain plants use during their life cycle. Certain families of plants are subject to the same diseases and should not be planted in the same area more than once every 3 years to prevent the disease organisms from building up in the soil.

In the chart to the right, crops planted in Bed 1 are planted in Bed 2 the following year, and in Bed 3 the year after that, and then Bed 4 and back to 1 again. Every year you are building up the organic matter and soil nutrients in one bed, by adding compost and/or planting a cover crop, also known as "green manure".

Rotating your crops in this manner helps to keep your soil makeup balanced, insects at a minumum and your garden healthy. You will start to notice a healthy improvement in your garden produce.

*TIP: Remember that potatoes are the unique vegetable here. While keeping them in a rotation plan, you'll want to be sure they're planted in a bed that has not previously grown tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant.

The concept is very simple. Keep a notebook of where your crops are planted from year to year. This is a sure fire way to keep your crop rotation in line.


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