Crop Rotation in Your Garden
Crop Rotation for Successful Plant Cultivation
Crop rotation is the practice of correct alternation of crops. Every gardener knows that if you plant the same crop in the same patch for a long time, you can’t expect a good harvest.
Why does it happen?
Reason #1 is a build-up of pests and diseases in the soil that are specific for this plant. We’ll inevitably face an increase in the Colorado potato beetle populations, phytophthora, and wireworm populations if we plant potatoes in the same place for a long time, or an onion fly population if we plant onions or a carrot fly population if we sow carrots. This is true for every plant.
Reason #2. It turns out that plant roots also tend to release toxic substances, even though in small quantities. Accumulated in the soil, they destroy plants. The most susceptible vegetables are spinach and beetroots. Tomatoes and cucumbers also release harmful toxins, as well as carrots and cabbage.
Reason #3. The soil gets depleted from all useful substances and elements plants need for good growth and development. It’s still no good even if you plant related crops on the patch. The store of nutrients in the soil is limited, and even regular fertilizing won’t help.
Because of all these factors, the soil gets depleted, infertile, and unsuitable for growing plants.
By rotating crops we get rid of accumulated harmful substances, diseases, and pests in the soil, and prevent soil depletion. Regular incorporation of leguminous crops, such as rapeseed, flax, alfalfa, mustard, or oil radish, boosts soil fertility. The soil gets loose and enriched with natural fertilizers and mineral substances. Importantly, this helps reduce the use of artificial mineral fertilizers and pesticides in the future. Growing such crops as cabbage, peas, tomato, and potatoes enhances weed control.
However, to get a full benefit from crop rotation, a species can only be planted in the same patch 3 or 4 years after.