Plant Groups & Crop Rotation
It does take a bit of planning but I always think it’s best to get it down on paper what you are going to grow each year and plan your crop rotation before the ) growing season starts, you can then mark out the plots (or rows in your case) on the ground so you know where to plant each crop.
At Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden we have divided our plot up into four central beds where we crop rotate our annual crops then we have various raised beds around the outside for perennial vegetables such as rhubarb and asparagus that do not fit into the rotation and for certain annual crops such as cucurbits ( courgettes, pumpkins, squash, marrows and cucumbers), all Salads, leaves and sweetcorn can be grown wherever convenient, merely avoiding growing them too often in the same place.
Crops are grouped as below:
- Brassicas: Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohl-Rabi, Oriental Greens, Radish, Swede and Turnips.
- Legumes: Peas, Broad Beans (French Beans & Runner Beans suffer from fewer soil problems and can be grown wherever convenient)
- Onions: Onions, Garlic, Shallots & Leeks
- Potato family: Potatoes, Tomatoes, (Pepper & Aubergine from fewer problems and can be grown anywhere in the rotation or in the greenhouse)
- Roots: Beetroot, Carrot, Celeriac, Celery, Florence Fennel, Parsley, Parsnip and all other root crops, except Swedes and Turnips, which are Brassicas!
Move each section of the plot a step forward every year so that, for example, Brassicas follow Legumes; Legumes follow Onions and Roots; Legumes, Onions and Roots follow Potatoes and Potatoes follow Brassicas.
Here is a traditional four year rotation plan where potatoes and brassicas are important crops:
Section one: Legumes
Section two: Brassicas
Section three: Potatoes
Section four: Onions and roots
Section one: Brassicas
Section two: Potatoes
Section three: Onions and roots
Section four: Legumes
Section one: Potatoes
Section two: Onions and roots
Section three: Legumes
Section four: Brassicas
Section one: Onions and roots
Section two: Legumes
Section three: Brassicas
Section four: Potatoes
I would suggest that you do your best to follow the rotation but not to get too concerned about it but one word of advice is that if you have had a problem with pest and disease definitely do not plant the same thing in the same piece of ground the next year.
If you would like more information please refer to our How to Grow? section on the website there is a section that I've written there on Crop Rotation & Positioning.
Good luck I’m sure you’ll crack it next year after reading this!
Lynn Burton - Horticultural Advisor