Crop rotation promises generous harvests by limiting disease outbreaks and taking advantage of available nutrients.
Find out how to set it up in your vegetable garden!
Read also :
- Combine the vegetables well
What is crop rotation?
Crop rotation means not growing the same plant in the same place two years in a row. In the kitchen garden, plants take nutrients from the soil. Some are more nitrogen intensive, others phosphorus or potassium. A tomato will exhaust the soil because it needs a lot of nutrients while legumes will instead enrich it with nitrogen. That’s why you don’t plant a plant in the same place twice in a row. This makes it possible to take advantage of the specificities of each vegetable plant, to avoid the multiplication of pests and diseases and to use nutrients in an optimal way.
4 types of plants
- Leafy vegetables: they need a nitrogen-rich substrate like asparagus, cabbage, spinach, salads, herbs, etc.
- Legumes: they have the ability to capture nitrogen in the air, fix it and release it back into the soil. These are lentils, beans, broad beans, peas, etc.
- Fruit vegetables: very nutrient-dense like zucchini, melons, eggplants, tomatoes, etc.
- Root vegetables: like potatoes, radishes, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, etc. These plants will draw the nutrients in depth.
How to rotate crops?
The important thing is therefore to’Alternate between different types of plants from one year to the next. To do this, cut your vegetable garden into four parts. To make your task easier, do not hesitate to install vegetable patches that allow you to clearly delimit the different planting spaces. For the first year, place the leafy greens in space # 1, root vegetables in # 2, fruit vegetables in # 3, and legumes in # 4. The next year, the legumes will have enriched the soil with nitrogen, so put the leafy vegetables in their place. The legumes will restore the substrate instead of the fruit vegetables which have drawn a lot of nutrients from the soil. Fruiting vegetables are positioning themselves in the former location of root vegetables, and the latter replace leafy vegetables and will draw their reserves deeper than their predecessors.
The principle of crop rotation optimizes nutrients to ensure good harvests. However, do not forget to enrich the soil with additions of compost. Each year, make a more or less copious contribution according to the cultivated plants. You can also sow a green manure in the fall to restore the soil. For fruit vegetables, spread a good layer of compost in the fall. During the winter, the soil will assimilate all these elements and will be ready for planting the following spring. On the other hand, garlic and onion do not require fertilizers at the risk of rotting the bulb. Educate yourself on the needs of each vegetable plant you want to grow, so you get together those that need a generous amount of compost, those that are satisfied with a moderate amount, and those that do not.
A multiple of 4
We have seen a simple breakdown of types of vegetables for a healthy rotation. You can complicate the approach by adding more sections. For example, in root vegetables, shallots do not need fertilizer or watering, while turnips appreciate rich, cool soil. Thus realizetwo different spaces for leafy vegetables, as long as you follow the same order of rotation.
A rotation over 4 years
Some vegetables can be replanted in the same place every 2 years, others every 3 or 4 years. For simplicity, we round to 4 in order to have a common rhythm. Be aware, however, that there are some self-compatible vegetables that can be replanted in the same location. This is the case with beans, corn or leeks.