Plant Groups & Crop Rotation

Dear Lynn

I have had my allotment for 6/7 years and though I've had some guys trying to help I can never grow or sow seed that seems to work in on the 4 year cycle/ crop rotation.

I have a row of radish then parsnip then cabbage then turnip just an example because I fill up the ground as I plant. I know of potatoes, alliums, roots, legumes and brassicas.

I have used Harrods Garden Kitchen Plan this is 3rd year so big attempt to get it right 2013 I have the plan started I just need the basic veg in their groups.

Is there a table anywhere which lists all the veg in the order of the four beds mentioned?

Thank you


Dear William

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:

Year one
Section one: Legumes
Section two: Brassicas
Section three: Potatoes
Section four: Onions and roots

Year two
Section one: Brassicas
Section two: Potatoes
Section three: Onions and roots
Section four: Legumes

Year three
Section one: Potatoes
Section two: Onions and roots
Section three: Legumes
Section four: Brassicas

Year four
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!

Best Regards

Lynn Burton - Horticultural Advisor