Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vegetable Crop Rotation: Healthier Soil and Less Pests

Triangle weather forecasters advise not planting your 2015 garden till after last frosts, this year between April 1 and April 11. Still plenty of time to devise your garden rotation!
Rearranging (rotating) the placement of plants from one season to the next is a valuable means of outwitting pests and diseases in vegetable gardens and annual beds. Most diseases and many insects are rather specific in their selection of host plants and many survive the winter as eggs or spores in the soil around the plant that was the pests host during the previous growing season. Replanting the same crop in the same space increases the probability of re-infection. Make it more difficult for the pest or disease; move your beans to the other side of the garden and plant marigolds where you had China asters last year. This simple avoidance technique can significantly reduce recurring problems.
Rotation of Vegetable Crops

Vegetables are divided into four groups: legumes and pod crops; alliums; brassicas; and solanaceous, root and tuberous crops. Sweet corn and summer and winter squash do not fit into major groups, but they should still be rotated. If you are growing only a small amount of these, it may be possible to include them in one of the groups (such
as alliums). Otherwise, treat them as a separate group and rotate everything on a five year basis.

American Horticultural Society. (2004). Southeast: Smart Garden™ Regional Guide. New York: DK Publishing, Inc.

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