Crop Rotation

crop rotation

Ever had a flower bed or vegetable patch that you grew you favorites for a few years and years with amazing results but then suddenly  its production became anemic or could be best described as ‘meh’? And then you wonder is going on with it — Is it the seeds?  Is it the transplants?  Is it the soil? Is it bugs?

Chances are that if you’ve grown the same plant in the same place year after year, there is something up with the soil.  It could be the soil on a number of different fronts:

  • The soil may be depleted of a particular nutrient that plant feeds heavily on. For example, tomatoes use a lot of nitrogen, so if they are grown in the same area for many years, the soil will become depleted of nitrogen.
  • Favorite pests may begin to grow there and stay there because its favorite plant is there reliably and dependably year after year. Those same pests may even overwinter in the soil.
  • The same goes for soil borne diseases.

How do you combat that?

  • The best thing you can do is rotate your ‘crop’ or plants around the garden. Rotating plants means to shuffle your annuals or veggies around in their placement in your garden. This doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your faves, it just means its best practice to move where you are growing them in your garden every few years.
  • Beans and peas replenish nitrogen to the soil, and tomatoes pull a lot of nitrogen from the soil. As an example, it’s a good idea to plant tomatoes where you had peas or beans the year before.  And to put peas or beans where tomatoes were the previous year.
  • Just mixing it up and keeping things fresh by moving annuals and vegetables around in the garden keeps soil replenished, pests wondering what you’re doing, diseases at bay; and maintains productivity.

Crop rotation is a simple concept with big benefits.  Feel free to contact us via our website or by calling us on the phone at 780-467-3091.  We love to puzzle through gardening issues with you.