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Past Articles Library | Vegetable Gardening Tips | Crop Rotation



USE PROPER CROP ROTATION


Many people don't think about it, but very basic crop rotation can be a huge help in keeping diseases and pests from thriving in your garden. Plus, if you're looking, you can't get a much more organic solution than this!

Crop rotation is when you plant your annual crops in different areas of your garden every year. This is a super easy and effective way to avoid the buildup of soil-borne diseases and pests like potato scab, or nematodes.

The idea has always been, and proved to be true, that when you grow different plants on the same site every year, pests and diseases won't have the host plant that they prefer, so their populations tend not to build up to critical and damaging levels.

The most important thing about crop rotation is to have a plan on paper, so you can remember what you planted, and where you are going to move plants the following year. One easy way is to separate your crops into 3 types: root, leafy, and fruit crops. Even better, is to group your crops by botanical family (like in the Solanaceae family you have tomatoes and peppers, in the Leguminosae family you have peas and beans etc.).

A good way is to write your crop categories on index cards and deal the cards out onto a garden plan on paper, one card for each growing area. Just make sure every year, you move those cards around.

Following is a sample roation with 4 growing seasons. Each year includes tomatoes, and a soil improving crop (buckwheat, clovers, oats, rye, vetches, and wheat). Add other crops as space permits in your garden.

  Bed 1

Bed 2

Bed 3

Bed 4

Bed 5

Year 1

Tomatoes

Peas

Carrots

Spinach

Clover

Year 2

Spinach

Corn

Clover

Onions

Tomatoes

Year 3

Onions

Tomatoes

Squash

Clover

Peas

Year 4

Clover

Carrots

Peas

Tomatoes

Squash


 




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Gardening-tip:

Growing Caladium

Caladiums grow from tubers sold in the spring.

You can buy the tubers and plant your own, but buying a full-grown plant is the easiest way to know what color the leaves will be.

Give your Caladiums high humidity or the leaf margins may turn brown.


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