The main reason for crop rotation in crop rotation is the steady depletion of the soil. If you plant the same plants from year to year in their usual place, they will reduce soil fertility, depriving it of nutrients. Therefore, for stable fruiting, it is necessary to follow the rules of alternating plantings of vegetables and other useful crops in the garden.
Every gardener wants to get a good harvest. In a small area, this becomes a necessity, since the area is limited. Our distant ancestors, cultivating the land, simply threw the depleted area and moved to a new place. When there was less land, people began to treat the land more carefully to increase yields, increasing their fertility. The accumulation of such experience has been going on for many millennia.
The Need for Alternating Plants
The need for alternating crops is due to the fact that different plants need different growing conditions, during growth they take from the soil a different amount of different nutrients. A large amount of nutrients is taken away by all types of cabbage, leeks, all pumpkin, celery. Root crops such as beets, carrots, radishes, etc. are less demanding. Representatives of the legume family themselves improve the soil and enrich it with nitrogen.
If you constantly plant the same crops in the same place, the land is depleted, there is a gradual accumulation of pests and pathogens in this area. For this reason, crop rotation or crop rotation is used (the concept of “fertilization” is also used). It consists of moving the vegetables along the garden beds to return them to their original place a few years later. At the same time, they are also trying to save on fertilizing the beds – a well-fertilized area in the next years is planted with plants with fewer fertility requirements and so on, in decreasing order.
When arranging a garden, it is better to draw up a rough plan for the alternation of vegetables and other crops. Spending a few days or even hours in the winter, you will save a lot of time and effort in the summer, and this plan will be valid for several seasons.
The Rules for the Alternation of Vegetables and Other Plantings in the Garden
The rules for alternating plantings of vegetables and other crops are as follows:
- You cannot grow the same culture in one place for several years.
- Do not alternate plants belonging to the same botanical family.
- It is necessary to consider what the predecessor was – that is, what kind of vegetable was grown at this place before.
If the first two rules should not raise questions, then with regard to the third, clarifications are needed. The requirements of vegetable plants for soil fertility are not the same. Some carry much more nutrients from the soil during growth than others. So, cucumbers and beets take out a lot of potassium from the soil. If you plant beets after cucumbers without adding this element, do not wait for the crop. After them, a thorough refueling with fertilizers is necessary, otherwise, the yield of the subsequent crop will be meager. The culture that was cultivated in a particular place in the previous year is called the predecessor.
Options for Alternating Crops in the Garden
The easiest option for alternating crops in the beds is to divide the garden into three plots. The first is reserved for demanding crops, the second – for legumes that restore depleted soil (here they plant tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions), and the third is occupied by root crops. Alternation is carried out in the following order over the years: demanding culture – legumes – root crops – demanding culture plus organic fertilizer. For many, cucumbers and tomatoes grow only in greenhouses. Then their place in the crop rotation is freed. If you have two greenhouses, you can alternate cucumbers and tomatoes in them, if there is only one, it is more difficult to do.
If potatoes are planted, then the scheme is as follows: potatoes – green vegetables – legumes – root crops. Or: potatoes – pumpkin – onions, beets, carrots, parsley.
Another option is the alternation of crops in the garden – this is the division of the garden into four sections. On the first, abundantly fertilized with organics, plant cabbage and pumpkin (cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin); on the second – tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, radishes, greens; in the third – root crops with the introduction of mineral fertilizers. And finally, in the fourth plot, fertilized with both organic and mineral fertilizers, potatoes are grown. After a year of planting, they shift, vegetables from the second section go to the first and so on.
Most gardens have wild strawberries, which are usually grown on one site for four, a maximum of five years. Then the garden must be divided into 5 parts and the plot with strawberries included in the rotation for the fourth year. Potatoes are often planted after wild strawberries, although this is not the best option.