Crop rotation in the country garden: the clever cultivates the crop, and the wise land
While caring for the garden beds all summer, each of us certainly wants to feel the result of our efforts, collecting a rich harvest in the fall. But as the old saying goes: "The clever manages the harvest, and the wise man the land." And therefore, in order to achieve the desired result and get a crop with aromatic and juicy fruits, when cultivating the beds, one should not forget about the crop rotation of vegetable crops. This effective natural gardening system not only helps maintain soil fertility, but also significantly reduces the number of diseases and pests that affect vegetable crops.
What tasks does crop rotation solve?
For intensive development and growth, plants need the predominance of certain macrocells, since vegetable crops have different ability to assimilate these elements. For example: root crops (potatoes, carrots, beets) require a large amount of phosphorus, and leaf crops (cabbage, lettuce) require nitrogen. And if root crops, thanks to a well-developed root system for nutrition, are able to use the lower soil layers rich in potassium and phosphorus, then the roots of leafy greens are able to get the trace elements necessary for the development of only the upper soil layers ...
The main task that crop rotation in the garden solves is the uniform distribution of nutrients in the soil
Planting in a designated area from year to year one type of vegetable crop leads to significant soil depletion and a noticeable shortage of one or another element.
Only a well-organized crop rotation on a personal plot makes it possible to balanced use of all the advantages of fertile soil
When growing vegetables belonging to the same family, pathogenic organisms and pests begin to accumulate in the soil, which affect this particular family. In the case of planting the same crop that grows this summer on an allotted bed, there is always a chance of getting fruits affected by diseases. If crop planting alternate annually, then not finding suitable food, pathogens simply die. The best option is when representatives of the same family return to their old landing site no earlier than after 3-4 seasons.
In addition, the grouping of plants in the garden, taking into account their needs, greatly facilitates the care of plantings. Thanks to well-thought-out crop rotation in the country, you can even successfully fight weeds. After all, experienced gardeners have long noticed that crops that grow a small vegetative mass (parsley, carrots) are not able to resist the growth of weeds like plants with a fast-growing leaf surface (pumpkin, zucchini, potatoes).
Planting scheme, where the horizontal rows indicate the year of planting (first, second ...), and the vertical columns indicate the areas of crop placement
Thanks to the alternation of beds, you can create the most favorable conditions for the growth and development of vegetable beds
Variety of crop rotation systems
Over the years of practice, many gardeners, given the peculiarities of the development of the root system of plants, as well as their assimilation of nutrients from the soil, have learned how to optimally alternate vegetable crops in the garden. The simplest crop rotation scheme is based on the principle that not a single annual crop should grow in one place for two seasons in a row. More sophisticated alternatives for crop rotation include development of optimal plant changes within the same area for several years to come.
When drawing up schemes, specialists mainly focus on two parameters: alternating families and changing a group of crops (root crops, fruit, leaf groups)
They are successfully combined with large plants such as cabbage, zucchini and tomato, vegetable crops of small sizes: onions, carrots, radishes. As an intermediate planting between the main harvests, you can use ripening crops: Beijing cabbage, radishes, lettuce, spinach.
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- cabbage precursors - tomatoes, potatoes, peas, lettuce and onions;
- carrots, parsnips, parsley and celery - after potatoes, beets or cabbage;
- early potatoes and tomatoes - after onions, cucumbers, legumes and cabbage;
- squash, pumpkin and zucchini - after root crops, onions and cabbage;
- radish, turnip and radish - after potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers;
- cucumber - after cabbage, legumes, tomato and potatoes;
- salad, spinach and dill - after cucumber, tomato, potato and cabbage;
- onions - after potatoes, cabbage, cucumber.
In the fight against pests of vegetable crops (leaf beetles, ticks, scoops), spicy herbs act. Get along well with vegetables:
- Broccoli with a head of lettuce and parsley;
- Tomatoes with savory, spinach and watercress;
- Cucumbers with dill;
- Radish and carrots with parsley and chives;
- Strawberries with parsley.
Properly selected vegetables can have a beneficial effect on each other. A successful combination of planting vegetable crops with herbs is beneficial and creates a harmony of beauty.
It is not recommended to plant “relatives”, which are often affected by common diseases, near crops. Tomatoes and potatoes planted nearby can suffer from late blight
How to create your crop rotation scheme?
When deciding to draw up a crop rotation scheme on a suburban area, it is first of all necessary to make a plan of the garden where to indicate the location of vegetable and fruit crops.
When drawing up the plan, one should take into account not only the soil composition of the site, but also the degree of illumination of the garden beds at different times of the day
The peculiarity of crops is that they have a different need for nutrients. Depending on the degree of consumption of soil trace elements and nutrients, vegetable crops can be divided into 3 groups:
- Plants with low demand. Among the unpretentious crops to the soil composition include: onions, lettuce, spicy herbs, radishes, peas, bush beans.
- Plants with moderate nutrient content. These include: tomatoes and cucumbers, beets and radishes, melon, eggplant, as well as leeks, spinach, kohlrabi and curly beans.
- Plants with high demand. These include: zucchini, celery, potatoes, pumpkin, asparagus, rhubarb, cabbage, spinach.
Composing a crop rotation diagram, the drawn plan should be divided into 3 or 4 parts, following which it will be possible to ensure that each of the crops returns to its original place of planting only in the third or fourth year.
The first most fertile part of the garden is allocated for planting “gluttonous” crops (cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini). The second part of the plot is used for planting eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, which are less demanding on soil fertility, or radishes, onions or herbs. The third part is reserved for crops that are capable of producing a good crop on relatively poor soil. Here they plant: turnips, carrots, beets, parsley. Potatoes are planted on the last fourth part of the garden, locally applying organic fertilizer (rotted manure or compost with ash) to each well.
After harvesting, it is advisable to plant the vacant beds with siderat plants, which better than any fertilizer will increase the fertility of the soil composition
The next season, plants that grew in the first plot, evenly moving in a circle, "move" to the fourth, from the second to the first, from the third to the second, etc.
When drawing up the crop rotation scheme, one should also take into account the structural features of the root system of plants and the depth of their penetration into the soil. Due to this, nutrients will be used uniformly from different soil layers. For example: cucumbers, onions and cabbage can be fed from the arable layer of soil, the roots of tomatoes sink to a depth of a little less than a meter, and corn - up to two meters.
Knowing the characteristics of each culture and given the successful combination of them among themselves, you can not only achieve a rich harvest, but also protect plants from many diseases.