Crop Rotation

How it works

Crop Rotation works because:

  • Plants are divided into different families.
  • Each family take different nutrients from the soil
  • Each family attracts different pests ;

Helpful Hints.

If you have the space, try for a three year rotation. Two years of a crop from a different family and one year with a cover crop.
Corn and gourd families are heavy feeders. Follow them with a pea family member
Keep member of the nightshade family in separate areas as they are prone to fungus.
Try to follow mustards with a cover crop. Always at least rotate them because of the particular pests they attract

Vegetable Families
Beet: beets, chard, spinach
Sunflowers: Sunflowers artichokes, most greens, yarrow, tarragon and chamomile
Morning Glory: sweet potatoes and morning glory
Mustard: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard, radish, turnip, watercress
Gourd: summer and winter squash, pumkins, melons, cucumbers and gourds.
Corn: corn
Pea: Beans, peas, lentils, sweet peas and lupins
Lily: asparagus, garlic, leeks, shallots, lily, chives
Nightshade: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, ground cherries, potatoes, nicotiana, petunia
Parsley: carrot, celery, parsnips, parsley, dill, fennel, lovage, chervil, caraway, anise, coriander,

Cover Crops  Often referred to as Green Manure, a cover crop is planted in a resting bed. It prevents weeds and then enriches the soil when it is tilled back under.

  • Alfalfa
  • Ryegrass
  • Crimson Clover
  • Buckwheat Oats
  • Fall Rye

Garden Journals
One of the easiest ways to plan ahead for crop rotation is to use at least one raised bed for each vegetable family. The only fly in that ointment is that small gardens may only have one or two raised beds for planting.
The only surefire way to keep track of crop rotation in a garden of any size is to keep a garden journal. As an added bonus, garden journals also help you to track which varieties were a success and which were not.