Saturday, February 23, 2013

Crop rotation for the healthiest vegetables

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Smart rotating of your vegetables can break the pest and disease cycle while at the same time utilizing the nutrients that the previous season’s vegetables left behind.  Studies have shown that your harvest increases by 10-25%.

Most have heard that crop rotation is important for your vegetables.  This is for a variety of reasons.  Many pests are specific to a vegetable type so when they overwinter and come up hungry, their favorite meal is no where to be found.  Different vegetables take different nutrients out of the ground while others give back nutrients.  Diseases are also many times specific to certain vegetables.  

The simplest grouping of vegetables is into 4 main groups:
Alliums (chive, shallot, onion, garlic and leeks)
Brassicas (cabbages, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, collards, mustard, kohlrabi, bok choy, radish, turnip)
Legumes (pea and bean family)
Nightshade or solanacae family (potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes)

Just add your other veggies in with one of the other groups to balance out the area each uses in the garden so you can just move the whole group from one section of the garden to the next easily.

Plant nitrogen hungry vegetables after legumes since they add nitrogen back to the soil.  You can also plant legumes next to nitrogen hungry plants like lettuce or tomatoes.

If your garden spot is just too small to do crop rotation, interplant instead!

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