Crop Rotation is a great and Old School way of keeping your Kitchen Garden healthy, bringing back Nutrients to the Ground and avoiding Plant Diseases.
By dividing your Crops into Families, and making sure that Family “moves around” in your garden you have a solid plan.
You can split your garden into 4, 6 or 8 areas.
I have my garden divided into 4 zones. The Crop Families I rotate are:
1. Enriching (with a twist..) – Purple Areas
2. Heavy Feeders – Green Areas
3. Needs Less – Blue Areas
4. Needs almost nothing – Red Areas
This image illustrates what I include in my Crop Rotation Families and how I rotate them:
After every Growing Season, I rotate my Crop Families:
–> Where I grew “Enriching” Crops the first year, I grow “Heavy Feeders” the second year.
–> Where I grew “Heavy Feeders” the first year, I grow “Needs Less” the second year.
–> Where I grew “Needs Less” the first year, I grow “Needs almost nothing” the second year.
–> Where I you grew “Needs almost nothing” the first year, I grow “Enriching” the second year.
I continue to rotate the Crop Families every year. After 4 years, starting the 5th year, every Crop Family is back to where they started.
What is included in each Family?
Enriching (with a twist..):
This is where I grow all Crops that ADDS nutrients to the soil. This is mainly:
– Green Manure.
Since all of my 4 growing areas have the same size, and I don’t manage to eat as much Beans and Peas as I can grow here – I usually makes a little twist and add some extra Veggies to this Quarter/Block of my garden. The things I add are: Sweet Corn and Zucchini, and some Beetroot. Because of me adding crops that is not only Enriching, I have to add extra nutrients to this Quarter after each season.
The Heavy Feeder Quarter holds many of the Vegetables I love to grow, such as:
It’s extra important to make sure to Rotate the Cabbage Family, since the rotation prevents Cabbage Diseases from staying in the ground and destroy your Cabbage every year. If you have the space and love to grow Cabbages I would recommend you to rotate Cabbages on 8 years instead of 4 years to be totally sure that your Rotation Cycle is eliminating all Cabbage Root Diseases.
This is where I place Crops like:
These crops are usually doing fine even though the “Heavy Feeders” Family has been growing in their area the year before.
Needs Almost Nothing
Potatoes are usually the King of this Section, and Potatoes are also an important Crop to Rotate from a Disease Perspective. The Crops I grow in this Quarter are:
– Sunchokes / Jerusalem Artichokes
Potatoes and Sunchokes are the main Crops in this Block but I grow Lettuce before and after Potato Season, and add Beans during the Potato season and let them climb the Potatoes to save lazy me from building to many Trellies in the Kitchen Garden.
Worth to mention is also that I grow all my Vegetables under a layer of Leaves and Grass Clippings to continously add Nutrients to the ground. This allows me to be a bit less sensitive to the nutrient need in the last two Quarters…
How to you rotate your Plants, and how is it working for you?