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Crop Rotation

Explanation of crop rotation and how to rotate crops in your own vegetable plot


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Jump to:    What is Crop Rotation?  |  Why Rotate Crops?  |  Main Vegetable Groups  |  How do you rotate crops?   

If you've ever heard of the term "crop rotation" and wondered what it is or how to do it, this article should answer all your questions.

Although this method may be considered by some as old fashioned, as with many traditional practises, there are very sound reasons for operating a crop rotation regime in any vegetable patch - large or small.

What is Crop Rotation?

Crop rotation is the growing of different types of vegetables in different areas of a vegetable plot from one growing season or year to the next  growing season or year. So, for example, you should not grow cabbages in the same place for more than one growing season.

Why Rotate Crops?

The main reason for rotating crops is to prevent the build up of pests and diseases which affect different crops. For example, carrot root flies lay their eggs on or near carrot plants and once these turn into little grubs,  they will burrow into any carrots in the soil. By not growing carrots in the same place the next season, it is less likely that you'll get a build up of carrot root fly grubs in that part of your plot which can, potentially, decimate your current and future carrot crop.

Main Vegetable Groups used in Crop Rotation

Before you can put crop rotation into practise, you must learn which vegetables belong to which group. It is actually quite simple and much of it is common sense so don't feel you are going to have to learn the Latin name of every single vegetable in order to do it properly.

For crop rotation purposes, vegetables are divided into three groups namely  "Root Vegetables",  "Brassicas" and "Others". For a full list of which group all vegetables belong to, click here, but below is an example  of a few vegetables and the group in which they belong:-




Root Crops


Brussels Sprouts

How to Rotate Crops

The traditional method is based on a three year cycle and consists of dividing your plot into three areas - i.e. one for each group. Although the area for each group doesn't have to be exactly the same size, it makes things easier in future years as the aim is to grow one of the groups of vegetables in each of the areas then change it around the next year so the vegetable types aren't growing in the same area two years running. So, in three years, each area will have only grown one group once, and then the whole cycle can be started again.

Below are examples of how crop rotation would work however it should be noted that if you plan on growing your vegetables in a more mixed up way, perhaps with cabbages dotted around the plot in various locations, then it is less likely that any serious build-up of a particular pest will take hold in any specific area.

Crop Rotation Main Year 1 Crop Rotation Main Year 2 Crop Rotation Main Year 3


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