Crop rotation

Crop rotation

Crop rotation has long been recognised as a way to avoid the build up of pests and diseases in the soil and and the depletion of particular nutrients.  It works by moving members of the same plant families to new sites on a yearly basis.  There are various different ways of rotating crops spread over a number of years but the typical 3-year crop rotation pattern is as follows:

Year 1                 Year 2                Year 3            

Roots                  Others                Brassicas

Brassicas            Roots                 Others

Others                 Brassicas           Roots

Roots include Beetroot, Carrot, Parsnip, Potato and Salsify.

In year 1 you would rake in a general purpose fertilizer about 2 weeks before sowing or planting but would not at manure or lime.

Others include Aubergine, Beans Capsicum Celeriac, Celery, Cucumber, Endive, Leaf Beet, Leek, Lettuce, Marrow, Onion, Pea Spinach Sweet corn and Tomato.

In year 2 you add a liberal amount of well-rotted manure or compost at digging time.  Lime only if soil is acid and rake in a general purpose fertilizer about 2 weeks before sowing or planting.

Brassicas include Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Radish, Swede, Turnip.

In year 3 you add  some well-rotted manure or compost at digging time if soil is known to be short of humus.  Lime the soil unless you are sure it is already alkaline.  Rake in a general purpose fertilizer about 2 weeks before sowing or planting

In year 4 you return to the pattern shown for year 1.