Rotating Your Vegetables Leads To A Healthier Garden
As humans, we are creatures of habit. In the vegetable garden, this often leads us to plant the same crops in the same place year after year. It’s practically automatic. We do it without thinking.
Unfortunately, this “habit” can lead to problems with the health of our plants in the form of insect infestations and plant disease outbreaks.
Just as humans are creatures of habit, insects and disease pathogens are too. Many insects will lay eggs near where they had been feeding. Some insects in the larvae stage will also overwinter close to their food sources. Additionally, soil borne diseases will also overwinter in the soil below their last food source. By rotating crops around the garden, problems from these pests can be averted.
One other benefit of rotating crops is that different kinds of plants have different nutrient needs. Rotating crops helps keep nutrients from being depleted in the soil. This process keeps the garden soil healthy and fertile.
Rotating crops is much easier in large gardens but it is just as possible in smaller gardens. Think of your garden as a clock. Each year, rotate what you planted around the face of the clock. Of course, this will require a little note keeping from year to year but most gardeners like to journal what worked in their garden and what didn’t.
Another way to manage rotating crops is to rotate based on the type of vegetables. In subsequent years, legumes (peas, beans) move to where root crops (beets, carrots, garlic, radishes) were the previous year, root crops move to where fruit crops (tomatoes, cucumbers, squash) were, fruit crops move to where leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, kale) were, and the leafy vegetables move to where the legumes were. Each type of vegetables simply moves one step around the garden each year.
With a little record keeping and forethought, it is possible to grow your garden with fewer pest issues and keep it thriving.
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