How many of you plan to rotate crops planted in your garden every year? Well I grew up on a ranch where everything we ate was grown or traded with family and friends. My aunt raised chickens; she must have had hundreds of them. Two areas of them, one was for raising the little ones to eating size and then she had the regular pen for eating now. Their friend and his family raised goats, another rabbits and so on.
Spring was always fun, my grandfather would drive this huge old tractor with disk in the back. He would til the ground for my grandmother and make her rows for her. (Wish I had one of those tractors). But I don’t have the land that they did either.
I never understood why they planted things in different places every year, now that I plant my garden I understand. Of course, I tried the same every year. They grew so well in that spot why not try again. They grew but got a smaller crop. If your crop is grown in the same place and getting thinner or diseased, try this good advice from http://bonnieplants.com/ on rotating crops.
“Vegetables that are members of the same botanical family are susceptible to the same problems, so try to follow members of one family with members of a different family. For example, plant tomatoes in the spot where the beans grew last year, the squash in the spot where peas grew, etc.
The Tomato Family The tomato family includes tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. These are heavy feeders and are best planted in enriched soil. Tomato Family members also are often affected by the same diseases. Never follow tomatoes after potatoes because deadly late blight can overwinter in potatoes that might have been missed and remain in the soil.
The Bean Family these crops enrich the soil by adding a little nitrogen. This group includes green beans, sweet peas, southern peas, jicama, and peanuts as well as clover and vetch used as cover crops in the cool season.
The Squash Family Squash family members are heavy feeders that grow best in rich soil. They include summer and winter squash, pumpkins, gourds like bitter melon, cucumbers, and melons such as cantaloupe and watermelon.
The Cabbage Family These leafy greens thrive on nitrogen-rich soil. Plant them where a member of the bean family has grown before. Members include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, and turnips.”
My grandmother didn’t draw a plan for rotating crops, she just did it and she was always picking vegetables and canning for winter. They also fed the ranch workers from the garden during harvest.
For those of you who have small raised beds, it could be a little harder for you, rotating crops, but even if you change from one end to the other it helps. Plant flowers to attract bees, for pollination.
Well happy growing and hopefully I have been of some help. If you have any other ideas, we would love to hear from you.