Crop rotation is a useful system to ensure a healthy and successful vege garden by not planting the same crops in the same place each season/year.
The reason for not planting the same plants in the same place each season is to help prevent the build-up of pests and diseases in the soil by disrupting their life cycle, and to keep your soil healthy. Crops from the same families are more likely to be affected by the same pests and diseases. Crop rotation also reduces nutrient deficiencies in the soil, as some crops take up more of one nutrient than others.
When you are planting your vege garden, having a planting plan drawn out is really handy for forward planning. You can make a note of of the dates you plant crops, which allows you to estimate when crops will be finished and plan what you will replace them with following the crop rotation process.
Crop rotation can be carried out in a four season cyle. Certain vegetables are grouped together into different sections of the vegetable patch, and these groups are then rotated each season of the year.
In a rotation system, crops are grouped together according to preferred soil type, required nutrients and the types of pests and diseases that threaten them. Different guides will group crops together differently, but here are some common group options.
- Root vegetables: e.g. carrots, beetroot.
- Legumes: e.g. peas, beans.
- Brassicas and salads: e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, spinach, lettuce, silverbeet.
- Onion family: e.g. onions, garlic, leeks, shallot.
- Potato family: e.g. potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum.
- Curcubits: e.g. courgette, cucumber, pumpkin, squash.
Option 2 - as a simplified version you could include the following groups:
- Brassicas and salads: e.g. cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, silverbeet, mizuna and rocket.
- Peas, beans, celery, onion.
- Potatoes, kumara, yams, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, pumpkins, carrots and courgettes.
Once you have chosen what you are going to grow, group the plants together following either of the above options. Then divide up your garden into the required number of areas and plant each group in a different patch. Follow the crop rotation system in the following seasons:
Check out our Planting a Raised Vege Garden Bed Guide here to help you plan your vege garden.