It's time to read and vote for your favorite article in the 2013 Write-Off Contest! The four finalist's articles are featured in the May 13 newsletter and can be found through this link. Hurry! Voting ends May 18.
A system in which vegetable crops are grown on different sections of a plot on a three- or four-year cycle to minimized the buildup of soil-borne pests and diseases in one section. Example: moving tomato plants every year to minimize disease
Growing a different crop each year in the same area or bed.
Example: A 5 year rotation could involve potatoes, peppers and aubergines followed by beans and peas followed by the Brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts etc) followed by carrots and beetroot followed by the alliums (onions, leeks and garlic) and then back to the potatoes again.
The benefits include:
Reducing the chances of serious soil bourne pests such as onion white rot and club root which affects the brassica family. Any spores struggle to survive for the next 3 or 4 years as the crop they need is not present.
The soil is kept healthy due to different treatments and the crops using up different nutrients over a period of years. Some crops such as beans and peas add nitrogen to the soil from the air which the following crop, brassicas, can benefit from. If the same crop is planted every year the soil will become depleted in the nutrients requred by that crop.
Soil structure is aided by the planting of shallow and then deep rooting plants.
The only real negative is that in reality you will probably want different amounts of space for the different crop families and this is not possible with a crop rotation.